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Egle Rimdziute and Mindaugas Giedraitis work together in Northern Norway with window production.

Egle Rimdziute and Mindaugas Giedraitis work together in Northern Norway with window production.

Tormod Ytrehus

Working in Norway: moving to Norway, wages, trade union

Migrant workers are drawn to Norway by wages. For Egle and Mindaugas, other things were more important

Having lived in Norway for two years, Lithuanian Egle and Mindaugas are so happy here they want to stay. According to a survey, the same goes for 6 out of 10 Poles and Lithuanians who work and live in Norway.

12.10.2021
09:20
14.10.2021 15:48

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

Egle Rimdziute and Mindaugas Giedraitis met at work. They worked for the same company in Lithuania. She was an accountant; he was a goldsmith. Both were divorced. Between them, they had three children.

Now the family has lived in the small town of Trofors for more than two years. They are happy as residents of Grane municipality and as industrial workers with the company Norgesvindu Svenningdal AS.

Recruited by friends

The research foundation Fafo has conducted a survey of work and living conditions for migrant workers from Poland and Lithuania who live permanently in Norway. As the survey shows, many who move to Norway to work are motivated by the Norwegian wages.

For this Lithuanian couple, the salary was not the most important thing.

– Mindaugas and I dreamt of changing jobs and perhaps moving to another city in Lithuania. We were tired of spending an hour and a half in the car back and forth between home and work in our hometown Šiauliai. We talked about how it could be nice to try living in another country. I lived in Norway for a year in 2013, in Aust-Agder. It was a fantastic year. My experience with Norwegian working life was good. Thus, Mindaugas suggested we could travel here, Egle explains.

Nearly half of Norgesvinduet Svenningdal’s employees are from Lithuania. The company does not use an employment agency to recruit workers. The employees themselves recruit new colleagues among their friends in their home country.

So was also the case for Eagle and Mindaugas. Their friends also helped them find a house for rent and helped them get the three children admitted to the school and the nursery.

– We quit our jobs on Friday and started our new jobs on Monday. It went very quickly, say Egle and Mindaugas.

You may also be interested in this: Foreign drivers who drive cabotage in Norway are entitled to Norwegian wages. Many of them do not know this

Egle puts sealing strips on a window. In Lithuania, she kept accounts.

Egle puts sealing strips on a window. In Lithuania, she kept accounts.

Tormod Ytrehus

Appreciate Norwegian working life

They both appreciate the Norwegian working life, where the distance between workers and management is short.

– Our experience from Lithuania is different; the leaders are not so close to the workers. Here we can discuss and talk with our bosses, they explain.

The trade union at Norgesvinduet is strong. For Egle and Mindaugas joining the union – Fellesforbundet – was an obvious choice.

• Fafo’s survey shows that the ratio of unionised workers is lower among migrant workers than among workers in general in Norway. Union membership is more common among women than men.

• 37 per cent of the Polish respondents and 34 per cent of the Lithuanian respondents say they have never been asked to join a trade union.

Article in Polish: Płace przyciągają migrantów zarobkowych z Europy Wschodniej do Norwegii. Dla Egle i Mindaugasa ważniejsze były inne aspekty

Article in Lithuanian: Darbo užmokestis pritraukia darbuotojus migrantus iš Rytų Europos į Norvegiją. Eglei ir Mindaugui buvo svarbesni kiti dalykai

Learning Norwegian from crime novels

Our conversation switches between Norwegian and English, but Egle prefers Norwegian. She is trying to learn the language through an online course and by speaking with people in Norwegian. And, by reading books. A whole crime series by the Norwegian author Jo Nesbø is lined up on the bookshelf at home, in Norwegian and Lithuanian.

• Fafo’s survey shows that less than half of the migrant workers speak mostly Norwegian at work. Thirty per cent respond that they speak little Norwegian, and 8 per cent respond that they do not speak Norwegian at all.

• The Lithuanians are more eager to take Norwegian classes than the Poles. Women who have received maternity benefits are more likely to have attended a Norwegian course, according to the Fafo report.

Equal treatment: Temporary worker Isaac did not get the pay he was entitled to. This is how he earned 14 kroner more per hour

Want to stay permanently

The three children have settled in well in the local community, in school and the nursery. Egle and Mindaugas enjoy life in a small town. They often go on nature hikes. They hope to stay in the country permanently, and with time they plan to buy a house, like several other Lithuanians at work have done.

• In Fafo’s survey, more than 60 per cent of the Polish and Lithuanian migrant workers respond that they would like to continue living here, as long as they’ve got a job.

• When asked where they see themselves in five years, 24 per cent of the Lithuanians and 18 per cent of the Poles say that they would consider moving back to their homeland. Another 10 per cent say they are uncertain of what the future brings.

Follow our Facebook page: FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Mindaugas was a goldsmith in Lithuania. Here he puts filler on a door.

Mindaugas was a goldsmith in Lithuania. Here he puts filler on a door.

Tormod Ytrehus

In need of foreign labour

Migrant workers are often considered to have a looser attachment to the workplace than Norwegian workers. They often work in industries with a variable need for labour.

Findings from the researchers at Fafo indicate that this is different for those who live permanently in Norway.

• 8 out of 10 Poles and nearly 9 out of 10 Lithuanians are employed in permanent, full-time positions. Most of them have written contracts.

The mayor of Grane municipality, Ellen Schjølberg, thinks that industrial companies would have problems hiring enough employees if they did not have access to foreign labour.

Everyone who comes to Grane should be welcomed in a good way, she says.

– To secure proper integration, we must talk with each other. There is room for improvement, says the mayor.

Read the Fafo report:

In English

In Polish

In Lithuanian

More articles in English:

52 drivers sued and were awarded compensation. Vlantana Norway has appealed the ruling

Just before the summer, the district court sentenced the transport company Vlantana Norway to pay 16.3 million Norwegian kroner in compensation to 52 previously employed drivers. The company has appealed, and the drivers must wait for any compensation.

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement (tariffavtale) is a written agreement between workers organised within a trade union (fagforening) and either an employers’ organisation or a single employer. The collective agreement provides a standardised arrangement for pay and working conditions.

You can now read news about Norwegian working life in English

FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

Please share the articles with colleagues and friends.

Got a story to tell? Contact us: foreignworkers@lomedia.no

> Read more news in English

> Więcej wiadomości po polsku

> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba

12.10.2021
09:20
14.10.2021 15:48

FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

Please share the articles with colleagues and friends.

Got a story to tell? Contact us: foreignworkers@lomedia.no

> Read more news in English

> Więcej wiadomości po polsku

> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba