More than 200 flights in Norway cancelled due to employee dispute

A lockout preventing all aircraft maintenance staff from attending work, which was brought in as a response to an ongoing strike, grounded more than 200 flights in Norway on Monday. 

Pictured is a Norwegian aircraft.
A file photo taken on July 17, 2009 shows a Boeing 737-800 of Low-cost airline Norwegian flying near Oslo airport in Gardermoen. Photo by AFP PHOTO / Kyrre Lien.

On Sunday, the Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise (NHO) introduced a nationwide lockout for air technicians in response to an ongoing strike. 

NHO’s lockout barred all aircraft maintenance staff nationwide from going to work and was brought in to try and force an agreement. 

More than 230 flights were cancelled due to the strike and lockout on Monday, newspaper VG reports. 

Widerøe is responsible for more than 200 of the cancellations, VG writes. The airline said it was grounding all short-haul flights until Monday afternoon at the earliest. However, Widerøe warned that all short-haul flights on Monday could be scrapped. 

“Today, we will cancel the shortest flights on the short-haul network until this afternoon, but there is a high probability that all flights today will be cancelled,” communications manager for Widerøe, Cathrina Solli, told VG. 

READ ALSO: Lockout for aircraft technicians announced unless wage agreement can be reached 

The airline cancelled many more flights than the other affected airlines, SAS and Norwegian Air Shuttle, due to having more daily departures.

As a result of the lockout, Widerøe has frozen its rebooking service and will instead offer affected customers a straight refund. 

SAS cancelled 23 flights on Monday, while Norwegian is reported to have cancelled two. However, SAS has clarified that the flights it has cancelled are not due to the air technician situation. 

Travellers affected by the strike or lockout are advised to contact the airline they were supposed to be travelling with. 

READ MORE: What to expect when travelling through a Norwegian airport this summer

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Teachers’ strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

The new school year in Norway could be marked by an escalation of a teachers' strike, which could see education professionals across the country join teachers in Bergen already on strike. 

Teachers' strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

A dispute over pay and wage growth could see teachers nationwide strike at the beginning of the new school year in Norway, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

“We have made a plan. I cannot reveal where, when and how many people will be affected by a strike. But it is only natural to imagine that an escalation will take place in connection with the start of school,” Steffen Handal, head of the Norwegian Education Association, told NRK. 

Currently, 40 teachers in Bergen are already on strike over wages. Handal says teachers have been the wage losers in the public sector’s last six collective bargaining agreements. 

“We are struggling to recruit and retain teachers. KS has made the teachers wage losers for the sixth year in a row. This is a policy that drives people out of the teaching profession,” Handal said. 

In May, the National Association of Schools, the Norwegian Association of Lecturers and the Norwegian Education Association came out against the deal, which the public sector accepted as a whole. 

KS, the organisation which negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the public sector, has warned that there isn’t really any room for negotiation. 

READ ALSO: How easy is it to work as an English teacher in Norway?

“The money has been used up,” Tor Arne Gangsø, director of labour at KS, told NRK. 

Kristine Nergaard, a researcher with Fafo, which researchers working life, warned that the strike has the potential to drag on once it escalates. 

“I think that it will last for at least two to three weeks from the time of escalation. Maybe more. It will also be difficult to manage this strike against the compulsory wage board,” Nergaard told union news site

The researcher added that unions could take the same approach as in 2014 when 7,000 teachers were on strike at the beginning of the new school year.