Marathon weekend strike talks end with no deal

As many as 25,000 passengers will be affected by the Norwegian Air pilot strike on Monday after marathon talks with unions over the weekend ended on Sunday night without a deal.

Marathon weekend strike talks end with no deal
Parat leader Hans-Erik Skjæggerud (right) and Halvor Vatnar, leader of Norwegian pilot union (left) meet the press after talks paused on Sunday. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix
Union leaders on Sunday night stressed that the negotiations had  simply taken a pause as after 29 hours of non-stop talks, both parties needed a rest before resuming discussions on Monday. 
“We hope to find a solution tomorrow,” Hans-Erik Skjæggerud, leader of the Parat Union told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK at 9pm on Sunday night, although he refused to be drawn into details. 
“We don’t want to contribute anything which could disrupt the negotiations which are continuing, and which hopefully will result in getting the planes back into the air,” he said. 
Practically all domestic flights in both Norway and Sweden have been cancelled on Monday, the airline announced on Sunday night, the apparent exception being a flight from Oslo to Svalbard Airport.
A handful of domestic flights in Denmark were also expected to operate. 
Only two hours before the talks broke up on Sunday Anne-Sissel Skånvik, Norwegian’s spokeswoman, told the channel that the company hoped for a deal on Sunday night. 
The marathon negotiations began at 1pm on Friday afternoon, grinding on for 16 hours until breaking up at 5am. 
They then resumed at 4pm on Saturday afternoon continuing until 9pm on Sunday night. 
According to Norway’s NTB newswire, unions on Saturday night dropped their insistence at having a collective bargaining agreement with the parent company, settling instead for a deal under which the company guarantees pilots’ wages and working conditions for three years. 
More than 700 pilots working for Norwegian Air Norway are involved in the strike, which enters its tenth day on Monday and has affected some 150,000 passengers. 


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