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Roar Flåthen warns against the right-wing forces, but will also be the FR's LO leader.


[profile] The sun shines over Youngstorvet, through the blinds in the People's House and into the desk of Roar Flåthen. The crisp spring light penetrates through offices and corridors, looking for dark hooks, painful encounters, a possible touch of fear culture. But well placed in soft and green furniture, the new LO manager sits and smiles and talks about the middle-sector settlement in the private sector.

- The low-wage problem exists in both the private and public sector, these are issues that are pervasive. When you are elected to LO's management, we have a responsibility for all members. Then we are available to everyone, regardless of sector, says Flåthen.

The question is asked because Roar Flåthen itself has a background in Iron and Metal, the Commonwealth, the private sector, the industry. His predecessor came from the Norwegian Public Service Team, she was a woman and spoke for the public sector. The Navy promises to continue Gerd-Liv Valla's commitment to all sectors organized in LO. But unlike her, he says "we" more often than "I", possibly an advantage when representing the community.

- The private and public sector has been formulated in the media, in reality it is a matter of mutual dependence between private and public. Those who work in industry, the private sector, depend on good schools and other public services. It is absolutely fundamental that the public sector is not privatized or exposed to competition. It was important that my kids, when I worked in a factory, went to the same school as the director's kids. That was what was so frightening about the previous government, it was going to expose everything to competition, it was an undermining of the equality society.

The Navy has started talking politics. Talking about safe working conditions, the restructuring of state enterprises. Viktor Norman and temporary employment. The Services Directive and social dumping. The journalist and photographer are granted a small hour's audience, in which we will talk to the trade union movement, drink coffee and climb the roof of the People's House to see how high it is possible to get across Youngstorvet. But first and foremost, talk politics.

On March 9, the former club leader at Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk took over the club in the National Organization, and thus Norway's largest organization, with less than 835.000 members. After predecessor Gerd-Liv Valla's dramatic departure, it is Flåthen's job to gather the troops, ready for new pay settlements. But clouds have appeared on the horizon ahead of this fall's municipal and county council elections. The Oslo Progress Party, like the red-green parties, will have electoral support from LO.

Every fifth member of the LO votes on the party that has been the labor movement's worst opponent, the only party that for two decades did not recognize the right to strike.

The leader of the Frp

- LO's membership is also a large part of the electorate, we have members in all political parties. I think our members vote FRP because of individual cases, not because they agree with the party's policy for working life.

The word flood stops for a moment. From the room, the secretary announces he is Martin on the phone, something that needs to be discussed. The Navy apologizes and goes to pick up the phone from Labor Party Party Secretary Martin Kolberg, the man who will crack the Frp code.

The party secretary has also been asked questions about money support from LO to Frp's municipal election campaign, a question he likes poorly. But unlike coddler Kolberg, Flåthen doesn't respond like a thunderstorm when questions about Frp come up. He rather answers by talking about the parties he likes. After ending the phone call in the room, he continues where he left off.

- In the last parliamentary election, around 50 per cent of our members voted Labor, 70 per cent voted red-green. It is reassuring to see how much support this government has among our members. We have shop stewards from the Conservative Party, the Christian People's Party and the Green Party in LO. We are open to cooperating with all political parties. We also work well with all three parties in this government, says the new LO leader diplomatically.

Besides the Labor Party, there is one other party Flåthen highlights.

- We have plans to continue to have a good dialogue with the Socialist Left Party. SV shares our view of the welfare society. The collaboration so far has been fruitful, for us. And for them. An initiative will also be taken with SV regarding environmental and energy policy. We for see what we agree on and what we agree to disagree on.

If everyone had to agree, it would have been little exciting, Flathen thinks.

- We do not always completely agree with the Labor Party either, he says and adds that he also appreciates cooperation with the Center Party, including Minister of Transport Liv Signe Navarsete.

However, he likes the charges of political corruption.

- It is the bourgeoisie that constantly attacks us on this. There is no doubt that they do it because they have seen that the trade union-political cooperation between LO and the Labor Party works. They see it as resistance, and they want to break it, but they have not succeeded, and they will not succeed.

The creepy right-wingers

The fleet begins to talk about the home municipality of Kongsberg. The villain in the story, right-

since, the municipal government took in, embarked on the scaling and management of community values, privatized and exposed, before the rescue came riding on the Krf animal in shiny red-green armor.

- There is a lot to be gained from such local cooperation, we must develop this opposition to the right-wing forces, which want a different society, where the so-called ones can enrich themselves on the many. Politics is to control and regulate the market. Market forces must not take over politics, warns the former mechanic.

He believes it is obviously what's best for the country. The Norwegian model, with a tripartite collaboration between employers, employees and political Norway, has built the world's best country. A country where both people have a vital business and welfare for most people.

The fleet is, like all former bosses in the People's House, a labor party member. We talk tradition and history. Ideological correspondence between party and trade union movement, as it always has been, at least from LO was founded in 1899.

- We have a story together. In principle, the trade union movement benefits from a political alliance to gain a foothold. Matters that are important to our members, salaries, working conditions, National Insurance and pensions.

Then LO has to be in politics.

- When we look at what kind of results we have achieved, it gives us reason to want the collaboration to continue, precisely because it is so fruitful. Labor has been the largest party, and it has given us impact. We also have a lot in common ideologically.

- Will you, like your predecessors, also take a seat on the central board of the Labor Party at the national meeting in April?

- I have said that in the situation we are in now, I do not intend to change anything during this congress period. If they want me on the central board, then I will not oppose it, but this is first and foremost up to the Labor Party's national meeting and the election committee.

- Where is LO in 2009, when this congress-

the period is over?

- We have been through a difficult time. But we will continue to show that we are a strong organization and that we can influence society for the good of the people. To the extent that trust in LO has weakened, it is our task to rebuild it. LO is a strong organization and can withstand a blow.

First and foremost, it is the 835.000 members, and the 23 unions that own LO that make the organization so robust, Flåthen believes.

- We who are in LO's management must do our part of the job. What is good for LO members is good for very many, says the mechanic from Buskerud.

It's time to climb the roof.

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