Norwegian Air pilots braced for bankrupcty

Norway’s pilot unions were braced on Monday for Norwegian Air Shuttle to bankrupt its local subsidiary in a strategy they decried as “outrageous union-busting”.

Norwegian Air pilots braced for bankrupcty
Norwegian Chairman Bjørn Kise grilled by press ahead of Monday's emergency board meeting. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix
The company called an emergency board meeting on Monday morning  which the Norwegian media has speculated will lead to the company filing to declare its Norwegian Air Norway subsidiary bankrupt.
As he went into the meeting, Chairman Bjørn Kise warned unions that they were putting the future of the entire company at risk. 
“They are striking to secure their jobs. But in reality they are risking the positions of everyone employed in the whole group,” he told Norway’s NTB newswire as he arrived at Oslo’s Fornebu airport. “We must think of all out employees. There are just a few people in one of the subsidiaries who are striking."  
The airline cancelled about 20 flights over the weekend, including one international flight from Copenhagen to Trondheim, after 70 pilots went on strike following a failure to agree on a  new collective bargaining agreement by Friday’s deadline. 
If a deal is not made by Wednesday, some 650 pilots are scheduled to join the strike. 
Arve Sigmundstad, press officer for Norway’s Parat Union, told The Local that its members intended to stand firm if Norwegian attempted to lure them to join another subsidiary or be employed by an agency. 
“We are prepared,” he said about the bankruptcy plan. “We will take the company to court and then we will argue that this is just a phoney bankruptcy, and that the pilots’ rights should be transferred from the daughter to the mother company,” he said. 
Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper on Sunday reported that the Norwegian Pilots’ Union had warned its members that in the event of a bankruptcy they were not to sign contracts with OSM, an international staffing company which leases pilots to airlines. 
The union has also threatened to report Norwegian’s hard-ball tactics to the International Transport Workers' Federation, and request sympathy actions, meaning that the company could for example, find itself unable to refuel internationally. 
“It’s outrageous and it’s union-busting,” Sigmundstad said of the alleged bankruptcy strategy. “We haven’t seen these kinds of actions in Norway for over 100 years.” 


Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Strikes could affect vulnerable children 

Municipal strikes among teachers and nurses could impact vulnerable children, the children’s ombudsmen has said. 

“I am concerned about the overall consequences that the strike and the pandemic may have on children and young people. The students bear a disproportionately large part of the burden, which increases each passing day,” Inga Bejer Engh, children’s ombud, told press agency NTB. 

Municipal workers have been on strike since last week when mediation talks between union Unio and municipalities over wage settlements broke down. 

Cases of Delta Covid variant detected in Trondheim

There have been 11 potential cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is believed to have originated in India, in Trondheim, Central Norway. 

“We have done a partial genome sequencing and have identified 11 cases of the Indian variant in Trondheim. We are 99 percent sure that it is the Indian variant we are dealing with,” Chief Physician at St Olav’s Hospital told local news site Nidaros.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, there have been 55 cases of the Delta strain detected in Norway. 

On Tuesday, coronavirus measures in Trondheim were tightened for the second time in a week. 

New quarantine hotel rules 

From today, anyone who has received their first coronavirus jab in Norway, at least three weeks before their arrival, and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the country in the last six months will not be forced into quarantine hotels when they arrive in Norway.

READ MORE: Norway eases Covid hotel quarantine rules

Travellers arriving in Norway who were vaccinated in foreign countries will still have to enter quarantine hotels.

The scheme will be in place until Norway’s full “coronavirus certificate” is released on June 11th.

READ MORE: NEW: Norway to launch full version of digital ‘Covid certificate’ 

Norway to provide poorer countries with 1 million extra Coronavirus vaccines 

Norway has said it will provide an extra one million Covid-19 vaccine doses to low-income countries through the equitable access Covax scheme. 

Led by organisations including UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Covax aims to offer equal access to vaccines for all countries. The scheme is primarily funded by wealthy Western countries, with the EU having pledged €500 million as of November 2020.

The Nordic country had previously provided poorer countries with the option to secure 700,000 vaccine doses through the scheme. 

READ MORE: Why Norway turned down the chance to order nearly 700,000 Covid-19 vaccines

353 new Covid-19 cases in Norway 

On Wednesday, 353 new cases of coronavirus were registered in Norway. This is eight cases more than the seven-day average of 345. 

In the capital, Oslo, 128 new Covid cases were registered in the city. Cases have risen sharply in recent days and yesterday’s figures represent an increase of 69 on the seven-day average. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable.

Number of reported Covid-19 cases. Source: NIPH