Hopp til hovedinnhold

Workers affected by closed borders must be secured income

Fellesforbundet's absolutely unwavering position is that workers who work and pay taxes in Norway, and who have completely involuntarily been placed in a situation where they are locked out of work, must not be left without income.

Grenseskilt Norge - Norsk riksgrense
Photo Roland Magnusson/Mostphotos

When Norway's borders were closed in March 2020, we experienced that many of our foreign members, particularly in the ship-building industry, were left without an income due to uncertainties in the regulations, issues with NAV registration, etc. 

We had expected that, nearly a year later, this would be cleared up by the government, and that information regarding new border closures would have been prepared for affected workers. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case.

History repeating itself

At the end of January 2021, many workers again lost their income overnight. And the Norwegian authorities are again failing both employees and employers – and so far, the government has no clear answers as to which rules and income protection arrangements apply. 

Among others, this impacts many of Fellesforbundet's members, who commute across the Swedish border and Polish commuters, as well as other commuters from the EEA region.

A typical example comes from a construction company, which on the day after the border closure sent the following information to its employees:

"Today, we have a complex situation in which the regulations are unclear to us as your employer and to you as our employee".

The company concluded that employees who are in Sweden and are unable to come to work will be offered leave without pay.

Over the past few weeks, Fellesforbundet has received information from multiple local unions and shop stewards concerning members who have been left high and dry. People can't get to work and receive no pay, unemployment benefits or sick leave pay.

Workers must be secured income

The government must take responsibility, and Fellesforbundet is putting intense efforts into the case through all available channels.

Among other things, we have reported the situation through various meetings with the government, issued a clear message to the Council for Working Life and Pension Policy, and we are in continuous and close communication with LO in our efforts to pressure the government into taking responsibility.

Fellesforbundet's absolutely unwavering position is that workers who work and pay taxes in Norway, and who have completely involuntarily been placed in a situation where they are locked out of work, must not be left without income.

So far, the authorities have not clarified if, or how, this loss of income shall be compensated, or which benefits employees are entitled to during this very particular situation. Unfortunately, we have a government that is turning a blind eye and leaving workers out in the cold. 

Several of our local unions and members have provided us with examples and information about the consequences of the border closures. Keep it up.

We need ammunition in our efforts to make things right, and we won't give up! 

Submit complaint

We also recommend that affected members submit their complains to SOLVIT and ESA. You will find information and the necessary forms here:

Efta Surveillance Authority (ESA)

SOLVIT - solutions to problems with your EU rights