Korsvoll school: One of many hit by teachers' strike action. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix
School pupils and staff face chaos on Monday as around 8,000 teachers take strike action all over Norway.
In some parts of the country, schools are fully closed, while in other parts, schools are forced to operate with minimal staff. 5,500 teachers were on strike from early last week and a further 2,200 joined the strike force on Thursday.
The strike will affect primary and secondary schools and colleges from Monday.
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, the Union of Education Norway and the municipal organization KS all lack full control of the situation and are unsure of the impact of the action on students.
Instead it is up to each school in each municipality to manage its own situation and to decide whether the students should meet up for first day at school or not. Students and parents must therefore check relevant websites or find out through word of mouth what to do.
College students are forced to attend or face loosing their study right. According to “VG”, the student registration office in Hordaland has sent out 6,000 text messages to college students, where they inform students of the importance of attendance. It is still not confirmed, however, whether college students need to meet up every day of the strike to register.
The leader of the Union of Education Norway, Ragnhild Lied, says she is sorry students and parents have been affected, but pinpoints that strike action is a legal measure.
Lied says: “We have tried to spare the youngest.”
The School Student Union of Norway will have a meeting with the Union of Education Norway on Monday afternoon to discuss what can be done for the students at secondary schools and colleges affected by the dispute over pay and working hours.
Benjamin Skiaker Myrstad, leader of the Student Union of Norway, said to NTB: “It is a problem that working hours, lost during a strike, are not to be caught up later. Students however have right to a certain amount of hours of teaching.”
The organization is in touch with those involved in the conflict to find possible solutions if the strike lasts for a prolonged period.
Myrstad said: “It is good to be prepared for everything. We believe all parties agree that it is important to clear up on this problem.”
Teachers working in primary schools from first to fourth grade, were not involved in strike action. But the dispute stepped up its action from Thursday when the first primary schools were affected.
Per Kristian Sundnes, leader of negotiation in KS, regretted students and teachers are affected by the conflict that has lasted since before summer this year.
No meetings are planned between the disputing parties on Monday, confirmed NTB. On Tuesday the main board of KS will discuss the matter.