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Illustrasjonsbilde av en ung kvinne i norgesgenser sittende på en fjelltopp med en fjord i bakgrunn


What is the Norwegian Model?

Published: May 11 2020

Being a member of a trade union is an important piece of the puzzle often called "The Norwegian Model" - a cooperative model that is unique to the Nordic countries.

The Norwegian Model gives us the rules of the game for working life, showing us  how employers, unions and government meet and speak with one another in  what is called  "tripartite cooperation".

Dialogue and trust

The Norwegian Model has been in development for over 120 years; it helps create  predictability, dialogue and trust in the workplace, giving us the tools necessary to deal with differences of opinion and conflicts of interest before they escalate into major conflicts.

The possibility for employees to  influence their  working conditions, and a work life characterized by equality and trust are also part of this tradition. This situation allows  employees' knowledge and skills to be used positively, which in turn creates employee motivation and job satisfaction.


It all started in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. The level of conflict grew  continuously higher throughout the twentieth century, resulting in a number of  long-lasting strikes. Then in 1935, The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) signed  their first major collective bargaining agreement;  today, this agreement is regarded as the country’s principal  labor law. In fact, this agreement is so important  for Norwegian culture that in 2012 it was listed on  UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

While a lot  has happened since the 1930s,  the Norwegian Model currently means, among other things, that Tekna has access to several formal and informal meeting places, both  locally through Tekna union representatives’ presence in companies  and nationally  with NHO. We’re  also represented in the Government's Contact Committee, where we work on meeting  the challenges employees face in  working life. We don’t always get everything  we want, but the Norwegian Model gives us influence; and the more members we have, the more influence we get.

A model for the future

We are now in the middle of a new revolution where digitalization, robotization and automation will both change employers’  needs with regard to  skills and manpower and challenge  relationships in the workplace. We believe that the Norwegian Model has created a culture that provides a high degree of  innovation and adaptability, which   will be  important  for finding solutions in the future.

Would you like to read more about the Norwegian Model? Download the booklet "The Main Agreement and the Norwegian Model" (in norwegian).

You can also learn more about this  topic in  our online course Getting to Know Tekna (for members - in norwegian)

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