Strike could force more airport closures

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10:02 CEST+02:00
As security personnel continue to strike, airport ground staff and flight technicians are considering joining their ranks this weekend, a move that could force several airports to close.

Almost 3,500 security guards have gone on strike since talks broke down last week between the Norwegian Union of General Workers and employer organization NHO Services.

Petter Furulund, director of NHO Service, believes the sides desperately need to get back to the negotiating table.  

“When lives don’t get saved because there are no security guards on the streets and when airlines are losing tens of millions of kroner, then it’s serious. The sides need to be forced together one way or another,” he told news agency NTB.

Union leader Erna Hagensen disputed the claim that the strike has endangered lives and said she would be willing to negotiate as soon as NHO was ready to present a new wage proposal.

”They can’t just keep saying no and at the same time hope for new talks,” said Hagensen.

While the security staff strike has led to queues and other problems at the country’s airpoirts, the situation for travellers could worsen considerably at the weekend if flight technicians, fire safety staff and other airport ground staff are called out on strike.

Unless a deal is reached by midnight on Friday, some 180 LO-affiliated employees of airport operator Avinor will go on strike, along with around 500 flight technicians from the independent Norsk Flytekniker Organisasjon.

A strike among Avinor workers could lead to airport closures at Ørsta/Volda, Førde, Brønnøysund, Ålesund, Harstad, Leknes and Kirkenes from Saturday morning. Stavanger’s Sola airport is likely to close on Monday unless the dispute is resolved.  

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With no end to the dispute in sight, airlines are having to work hard to keep their passengers up to date on developments.

”We have brought in extra staff at our customer support centre and are working furiously to keep passengers updated and make alternative arrangements for those affected,” said Norwegian airlines spokesman  Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen.

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