Hotel project raided for possible labour abuse

norwefian police officerA hotel renovation project in Oslo was raided by both police and state labour authorities on Wednesday according to reports in Aftenposten. The hotel, when finished, will be operated by Choice Hotels Scandinavia. The firm is owned by Petter Stordalen, a well known activist, but police raided it on the suspicion that workers on site were being paid below the minimum wage.

Many of the workers contributing to the hotel’s renovation are Bosnian and reports indicate that they were being paid as little as NOK 20 to 30 an hour (around USD 4 to 6). In addition, workers have been reportedly working up to 75 hours a week. Engra Norge, a construction company, is the firm reportedly responsible for the renovation work.

The special police unit which handles economic crime (Okokrim) and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet) are now both engaged in conducting special investigations of Engra Norge.

Engra Norge board member Jan Fredrik Holseter insisted that there was no criminal activity underway at the company and said, “The whole Ansgar project has been a nightmare.”

Petter Stordalen said he would be tasking ten of his own workers to find out more about what happened during the renovation operations which were converting a hospice into a hotel.

“We’re working to find out the facts here,” Stordalen said. He expressed his surprise over the allegations of “social dumping”.