Trade unions in Norway
To find out the type of salary and work terms and conditions you are entitled to in Norway, you can contact the affiliated union that is relevant to your professional area.
Trade unions, affiliated unions and central organisations
Trade unions (fagforeninger) are associations of employees in the same professional area or sector. Trade unions work to strengthen members’ rights and work terms and conditions, and play a key role in, for example, salary negotiations.
The individual trade unions are generally linked to larger, usually national, trade unions or professional groups. If you are a member of a trade union, the union will generally be able to help you as employee in the event of disputes arising between you and your employer.
Affiliated trade unions are, in turn, centrally organised through a main organisation or main confederation. In Norway there are four such confederations:
- The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO) is Norway’s largest employee association. 22 trade unions for different professional groups are affiliated to LO, including employees in The Norwegian Union of Commerce and Office Employees (Handel og Kontor), The Electrician and IT Workers Union (EL & IT Forbundet), and Industri Energi og Fagforbundet for workers in the industry and energy sectors. These unions organise members in the municipal, county council and private sectors.
- Unio (The Confederation of Unions for Professionals) is Norway’s second largest employee organisation. Unions affiliated to Unio include the Norwegian Nurses Organisation (Norsk Sykepleierforbund), the Union of Education Norway (Utdanningsforbundet), the Norwegian Police Federation (Politiets Fellesforbund) and the Norwegian Physiotherapist Association (Norsk Fysioterapiforbund).
- The Confederation of Vocational Unions (Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) has 19 affiliated unions, covering all sectors in working life, including the union for professional drivers (Yrkestrafikkforbundet for bussjåfører), The Norwegian Union of Librarians (Bibliotekarforbundet), the teachers’ union (Lærernes Yrkesforbund) and the pharmacists’ union (Farmasiforbundet).
- The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikerne) is an employee organisation for professionals with qualifications from universities and university colleges, and consists of 13 member associations. These include the union for architects (Arkitektenes Fagforbund), the Norwegian Medical Association (Den norske legeforening), the Norwegian Dental Association (Den norske tannlegeforening) and the Association of Social Scientists (Samfunnsviterne).
The central organisations can refer you to the affiliated union that is connected to your professional group or field. Contact the central organisation or trade union that is connected to your vocational or professional area if you have any questions about rights and obligations as an employee.
Tax deduction for trade union fees
If you are working, you can claim a tax deduction if you have paid a membership fee to a trade union. This is often already entered in your tax return but, if not, you yourself must ensure that it is included. The website of the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) has a list of how much of the membership fee is tax deductible.
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