Strike set to hit Oslo schools

Pre-schools, schools and nursing homes in Oslo are set to be hit by strike action after two of the four trade unions representing workers employed by the city pulled out of wage talks on Wednesday morning.

Strike set to hit Oslo schools
Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/Scanpix

After a week of negotiations, labour groups Unio and YS Kommune announced that 635 workers would go on strike in an initial round of industrial action.

”It’s regrettable that Oslo’s inhabitants will now be affected by a strike. There’s no other option than a strike when the city is not willing to give employees higher wages that are in line with those received by other groups in society,” said Unio Oslo’s chief negotiator Terje Vilno.

The first group to go out on strike will be Unio members who had planned to start work at midday on Wednesday.

These will be joined on Thursday morning by further Unio-affiliated workers along with members of the YS union.

”Shift workers will be the first to go out, which typically means employees at nursing homes, retirement homes and similar operations. On Thursday, schools, pre-schools and administrative offices will also be affected,” said Vilno, as Unio presented a list of all the workplaces (pdf) set to be hit be its strike action.

 ”Oslo city set an ultimatum whereby we had to approve a framework of less than four percent if we were to achieve a broad-based solution. We felt we were too far apart from one another to build a bridge,” said Vilno.

The city’s Conservative Party governing mayor, Stian Berger Røsland, said Oslo residents would soon feel the effects of the strike.

”It’s disappointing and surprising that two of the organizations have chosen to go on strike,” he told news agency NTB.

”We thought the mediation process was satisfactory and constructive. It’s difficult to see what they want to achieve with a conflict.”

Røsland urged members of the public to get in touch with individual workplaces or check the city’s websites s for information on the concrete ramifications of the strike.  

Representatives for the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and labour group Akademikerne planned to continue negotiations.

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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