Until now doctors in Norway have depended on collective agreements regarding working hours. The official employer (Spekter) is attempting to take away this collective bargaining. They now want every doctor to negotiate their own worktime agreements and therefor alter the way in which hours are allocated and worked. This can lead to longer working weeks and tired doctors. The Norwegian Medical Association (Legeforeningen) worried that this will give employers the right to create workplans where doctors theoretically can work nightshifts up to 30 weeks continuously. Norwegian doctors are not subject to Norway’s labour laws preventing excessive work, and collective agreements are therefore crucial.
The strike also covers the issue of pregnant doctors losing their right to automatic excuse from on-call work during the last trimester of pregnancy. This is a right pregnant Norwegian doctors lost as of January 2016.
The Norwegian doctors have gained the support of several other professions and organizations and are currently in their third week of industrial action. At the moment 569 employees from 13 hospitals are at strike, with further escalation is to be expected.