President Steffen Handal in front of teachers on strike
President Steffen Handal in front of teachers on strike

Teacher strike in Norway!

published 20 August 2022 updated 6 September 2022

All teacher trade unions are now on strike in Norway. The two main reasons are the lack of qualified teachers, and salaries.

The teachers' strike started very limited in June, but around 1,300 more teachers will go on strike from Monday 22nd August. 14 municipalities and ten counties will be affected. And the teacher trade unions are ready to expand the strike if necessary.

The reasons for the strike are multifaceted, but low teacher salaries are at the core and as such shows a lacking priority of the teaching profession. Teachers have had a lower salary increase than other employees in the municipalities and counties. In fact, teachers have lost out in salary increases compared to other groups every single year since 2016.

“Ideally, our members would like to be in the classrooms and receive their students after the school holidays. But when KS (the employers’ organisation, inserted) chooses to make the teachers wage losers for the sixth year in a row, we unfortunately have no other choice.”

Steffen Handal, President of Union of Education Norway

This is happening at the same time as the shortage of qualified teachers is critical. Almost one in five persons who work as a teacher in Norwegian schools lack teacher training, according to figures from Statistics Norway (SSB, Norway’s official statistical institution).

The teacher trade unions are standing united against these realities:

  • Year after year the teachers receive a worse salary settlement than the other employees in the counties and municipalities.
  • Almost every fifth "teacher" in the schools are not qualified as a teacher.
  • Teachers with more than four years of higher education are paid on average less than the average in all other sectors (both public and private). In other words: the school is the sector in Norway where higher education gives the lowest pay in terms of salary.

The teacher trade unions in Norway see this as a strike for the school of the future. If the politicians are serious about investing in the students, they must invest in the teachers.