Published: 31/07/2019

In autumn 2017, after a 35-day strike workers of Norse Production compelled their company to sign the national collective bargaining agreement for the fish processing sector. It was a big win for the migrant fish workers from Poland since the company had to raise their wage to the nationally set level.

Norse Production was a subcontractor of Sekkingstad AS, which decided to eliminate the union and escape from collective barraging obligations by claiming Norse Production bankrupt. All the workers lost their jobs but a new subcontractor, Sund Laksepakkeri, was immediately established in its place and started hiring. However, none of the organized workers got a job back.

With the union support, they brought the case to the Bergen District court. The trial went from May 20 to June 12 and resulted in a unanimous and crystal clear verdict. It states that the 45 workers were illegally discriminated against because they were members of the NNN.  All 45 plaintiffs will be reimbursed for financial loss and redress. The company will pay a total of over 19.5 million NOK (approximately 2 million EUR).

The company still has an opportunity to appeal to a higher court, but the verdict already set an important precedent by making clear that no one can be prosecuted nor discriminated against because of their union membership. Union busting is a crime.