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Pawel Motyka

Pawel Motyka revealed illegal working conditions during the construction of the Opera building in Oslo. For that he was praised.


What do you think of getting such a prize?

- I was very surprised. At home in Poland, I had not received such an award. I have not done this job alone, and besides, we only did our duty when we notified about the working conditions.

What made you come to Norway?

-I was looking for a job, and when I got the offer to go to Norway I couldn't say no. I have not been here before and the offer was good. Together with three of my friends, I came to Oslo in November 2005. We were hired by the company Inside in Warsaw. The assignment was to participate in the construction of the new opera in Oslo. A total of 24 carpenters came from Poland and were to work in groups of four. We quickly discovered that not everything was as it should be.

What did you discover?

- The job we are going to do here in Oslo is demanding and difficult, and it takes time. We were paid per meter and not per hour. We were as low as 10-15 kroner per hour, while the minimum wage should have been 126 kroner an hour. The fact that it also proved difficult to get what we should have been paid made us question the whole situation. LO coordinator Knut Farholm has helped us along the way.

Was it an easy decision to go to the union with the case?

- No, most of the carpenters were afraid of the consequences. They were afraid of losing their jobs, and we all knew the warnings we had received about what might happen if we talked to others about the contracts. But fortunately – from the moment we got in touch with the Norwegian trade union, things started to happen. We quickly got better deals in place, and we got the salary we are entitled to.

Was it correct to notify?

- It was right to notify about the conditions, and I will do it again if necessary. It is also good that the Norwegian authorities are now showing greater interest in these cases.

On Tuesday, Pawel Motyka received the first "Stockmanns Hammer" for his courage when he chose to notify the Norwegian trade union about the working conditions at the opera in Oslo. "Stockmann's Hammer" is a prize for notification in the working life, awarded by the Byggfag foundation.

On June 8, Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Bjarne Håkon Hanssen presented the government's proposal for rules that will strengthen the protection of employees who report critical conditions in the workplace.

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