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Compensation claims in the travel, room and board dispute

Posted by Aase Herkules on February 3, 2017 at 6:25 AM

Norwegian Industry threatens government with compensation claims in the dispute about travel, board and lodging. Director of the organization for the Construction Industry (BNL) is afraid of extensive consequences for the construction industry in Norway.

Last week the Norwegian newspaper VG wrote about the CEO of Norwegian Industry Organisation (NI) threatening the government with compensation claims in the travel, room and board dispute. If the Government are to follow the ESA requirement to overrule the obligation for employers to pay travel, food and lodging for posted EEA workers, it will have extensive consequences for the Norwegian construction industry.

In October it was announced that the EFTA Surveillance Authority opens proceedings against Norway to end the requirement for employers to pay travel, food and lodging for posted EEA workers in certain sectors - including the industrial sector and construction industry.

ESA believes the rules in the shipbuilding industry, on construction sites and in the cleaning industry violates EEA Agreement and prevents the free movement of services - and the government was given two months to respond.

The Government has not yet sent its reply and in Thursday's VG Norwegian Industry Leader Stein Lier-Hansen expresses his concerns and claims towards the government, and threatens with legal action if they do not respect the requirements of ESA.

A prolonged case

In 2013 NHO, with Norwegian industry in lead, asked ESA to look at the legality of the Norwegian regulations. After the Supreme Court concluded that the General Application Regulations in the shipbuilding industry was in accordance with the EEA Agreement.

In a letter, referenced in VG, CEO Stein Lier-Hansen in Norwegian Industry asked Anniken Hauglie minister of labour to confirm that they will accommodate ESA, who believes Norway can not oblige Norwegian companies to pay travel, food and lodging expenses for foreign workers in Norway.

The construction industry as a major traveling industry will be the most effected if the government were to give in to the demands of ESA. BNL-director Jon Sandnes is therefore not pleased with how this matter is progressing.

- When the construction industry was included into the letter from ESA, we as an industry had to engage seriously in this matter. Expenses for travel, food and lodging are significant element in the total cost picture in the construction industry. The projects are structured so that workers are moved from construction site to construction site, and when moving people it represents a significant cost, says Sandnes to Byggeindustrien. The result of the dispute will therefore have much larger consequences for the construction industry than for the industrial sector in Norway.

-The Norwegian companies can not have greater obstacles than the foreign companies!

BNL-director Jon Sandnes points out that if they overrule the obligation to pay the expenses for travel, food and lodging, the foreign companies will have a lower costs then the Norwegians.

Categories: Working conditions

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