Norway wage earners see wallets bulge

Already the envy of Europe for their handsome pay packets, Norway’s workers saw their wallets swell still further in 2011 as average monthly earnings jumped 3.8 percent to 38,100 kroner ($6,660).

Norway wage earners see wallets bulge
Photo: Scanpix

Up from an average of 36,700 kroner the year before, the figures released by Statistics Norway excluded overtime pay, while including part-time workers.

Full-time employees earned a cool 39,600 kroner a month, 1,500 kroner more than in 2010, with part-time workers getting paid 31,600 kroner on average, representing an increase of 1,000 kroner or 3.3 percent on the previous year.

Men continued to receive considerably higher wages than women, pocketing a pre-tax average of 40,800 kroner, which was 1,500 kroner, or 3.8 percent more than in 2010. Women in Norway were paid an average of 34,800 kroner a month, up 1,400 kroner, or 4.2 percent, year on year.

Workers in the country’s vast oil and gas industry saw average annual incomes rise by 4.6 percent, from 665,400 kroner in 2010 to 696,100 kroner in 2011.

In the public sector, wages for employees in the municipalities and county municipalities increased by 4 percent to 416,300 kroner, up from 400,200 in 2010.

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NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.