Norway bus strikes end as opposing sides reach agreement

Norway bus strikes end as opposing sides reach agreement
People waiting for a bus in Oslo in 2016. Photo: Wolfmann/Wikimedia Commons
Unions and employer representatives for bus drivers have come to agreement over revisions to Norway’s Bus Sector Collective Agreement (Bussbransjeavtalen), clearing a path for the end of nationwide driver strikes.

The bus driver strike began on September 20th after a breakdown in negotiations and was escalated a week later to encompass more drivers and geographical areas. 8,300 drivers were on strike at the time the deal was reached.

“We are glad the strike is over. Not least for the sake of the passengers who can again take the bus to work, school and leisure activities in an environmentally-friendly and safe way,” employer organisation NHO Transport’s CEO Jon H. Stordrange said in a press statement.

Buses are expected to begin operating again from Thursday afternoon although some delays may persist, according to the NHO Transport statement.

“This was a serious conflict which has affected many people, but both sides were aware of their societal responsibility in reaching a resolution,” state mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland told VG.

Fellesforbundet, one of the unions representing bus drivers in Norway, told the newspaper that the deal provides for an increase in annual wages for bus drivers “close to 20,000 kroner” by 2021.

“Other breakthroughs include assurances that working hour provisions and safety initiatives will be looked at,” Fellesforbundet union leader Jørn Eggum told VG.

The bus drivers’ strike was the first of its kind in Norway for 22 years.

READ ALSO: Why are bus drivers going on strike in Norway?

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