More flyers stranded as pilot strike talks stall

A further 20,000 Norwegian Air passengers across Scandinavia are to have their flights disrupted on Tuesday, after hopes of a deal to end the ten-day pilot strike ended in disappointment on Monday.

More flyers stranded as pilot strike talks stall
Photo: Rune Feldt Rasmussen/Scanpix
The two sides were keeping commentary in the media to a minimum to avoid disrupting negotiations but Anne-Sissel Skånvik, Norwegian Air’s spokeswoman revealed on Monday night that the company had made a new proposal to the pilots' unions. 
Early on Tuesday morning, Arve Sigmundstad, press officer for the Parat Union stressed that there was "nothing new" in the proposal which would end the deadlock.   
On Monday, Norwegian media were reporting that the two sides were close to a solution, but those hopes were dashed by the late afternoon as the two sides hit deadlock on the remaining issues after which the company angered unions by attempting to switch from two-way talks to a formal arbitration process. 
“We are still sitting in talks with the company, and this initiative could harm the negotiation progress,” Hans-Erik Skjæggerud, leader of the Parat Union complained after the move, arguing that by talking of arbitration Norwegian was implying that it wrongly viewed the talks as primarily about wages. 
“The conflict cannot be solved through arbitration,” he said.  
The strike has affected at least 150,000 passengers since it began on Saturday February 28th, after three months of futile talks broke down. 
More than 700 pilots working for the company’s Norwegian Air Norway subsidiary have joined the strike, and the company has temporarily laid off some 800 cabin crew without pay. 
Skånvik described Parat’s rejection of the request for arbitration as “regrettable”. 
The pilots want better job security and standardized salary terms for all pilots employed by the various Scandinavian subsidiaries of Norwegian.
The company, which in 2014 suffered its first loss in eight years, is looking to reduce operating costs as well as pilots' benefits.
All flights within Norway and Sweden will be cancelled on Tuesday, although flights between Scandinavian capitals, which have barely been operating since the strike began, appear to be running as usual. 


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