Around 30,000 public employees went on strike on Thursday after overnight negotiations regarding a pay raise broke down . Norway has a total of about 600,000 public sector workers.
The indefinite strike is Norway's first by state employees in 28 years and affects police, customs authorities, schools, day cares, municipal administrations and other public sector departments.
Unions representing the workers say the government was not willing to meet their demands for a pay raise of just over 4 percent, which the unions had hoped to be in line with pay raises in the private sector.
Instead, the government offered a pay raise of 3.75 percent.
Arne Johannesen, one of the negotiators for the union, said their demands are "not outrageous."
Government Administration Minister Rigmor Aasrud said in a statement that she was disappointed that the agreement could not be reached through negotiation, adding that the government's proposal would have "ensured a significant purchasing power increase to all state employees."
Norway's economy has been especially resilient in comparison to the rest of Europe. In the first quarter of this year, its economy grew by 1.4 percent. Figures released Thursday by the statistics office of Europe's biggest economy - Germany - show growth of just 0.5 percent in the first quarter.
mz/slk (Reuters, AFP)