Trade unions play a crucial role in shaping the Norwegian labour market. The data shows that roughly half of all employees are members of a trade union, with a density rate that while lower than other Nordic countries, is still notably higher than the average for industrialised countries.
Despite a general trend of declining union density in OECD countries, with an average decrease of five percentage points since 2000, Norway has seen a less significant drop in union membership compared to most other countries. This indicates that trade unions continue to hold a strong presence in the Norwegian labour market and play an important role.
LO is the largest trade union confederation
As of the end of 2022, there were over 2 million members of trade unions in Norway. Among these, close to 1.4 million were actively engaged in the labor market.
Trade unions are, broadly speaking, organised into four main confederations: LO, Unio, Akademikerne, and YS. LO is the largest of these confederations, measured by the number of working members. LO is is followed by Unio, Akademikerne and YS. Over time, the share of working members have remained relatively stable between the largest confederations.
The below table shows the associated unions within each of the main confederations. At the associated union level, Fagforbundet (LO), is the largest, followed by Utdanningsforbundet (Unio) and Fellesforbundet (LO).
About the data
Data on trade unions and employer organisations are from Statistics Norway “Trade union members and strikes“.
International data are from the OECD/AIAS ICTWSS database.