Norway unions, employers agree wage deal, averting strike

OSLO, April 11 (Reuters) - Norwegian private-sector workers across a range of sectors reached a wage deal with employers on Sunday, averting major strike action, the country’s largest labour union said.

Some 28,000 union members, including thousands of bus drivers, ferry operators, shipyard crews and others workers had been scheduled to go on strike if no agreement was found, and a conflict could also have spread to other industries.

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, also known as LO, was negotiating on behalf of 180,000 members, while the smaller Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) represented a further 15,000.

The agreement will lift wages by 2.7% on average, LO said.

The LO had demanded that wages should rise, on average, by at least 2.8% in order to match the expected inflation for the year, and that low-paid workers should receive the biggest gains.

Employers, represented by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), had called for a smaller rise however, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic had hurt many firms and that the union demands could ultimately jeopardise jobs.

Among the firms that would have been affected by a strike were Aker Solutions, Norsk Hydro, Yara , Elkem, Glencore and Boliden , unions said. (Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik and Gareth Jones)