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

The latest on the SAS strike, the government forces a different strike to end, and another step towards digital estate planning are among the headlines from Norway on Wednesday.

Pictured is Lovanet in Norway
Read about the latest on the SAS strike and the government forcing another strike to end in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is Lovanet in Norway. Photo by Till Daling on Unsplash

Norwegian government forces an end to the oil strike

An oil strike that threatened to half gas exports by Saturday has been referred to an independent wage board by the government, bringing it to an end. 

The move which ended the strike came after workers walked out of their jobs on Tuesday, with the potential for the strike to escalate on Wednesday and Saturday. 

“The announced escalation is critical in today’s situation, both with regards to the energy crisis and the geopolitical situation we are in with a war in Europe,” Labour Minister Marte Mjo Persen said in a statement.

Under Norwegian legislation, the government can force parties in a labour dispute to a wage board which will decide on the matter. Last week the government brought an air technician strike to its end. 

READ ALSO: Strike could cut Norwegian gas exports by up to 60 percent

Expert doesn’t expect prolonged SAS strike

The SAS strike, which began on Monday and saw 900 pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark take strike action, could be over soon, according to an aviation expert. 

“I do not think there will be a long strike. I think the pilots and the SAS leadership want a halt to this,” Frode Steen, professor of economics at the Norwegian School of Management, said to public broadcaster NRK

“This strike is so stupid, to put it bluntly. It is so wrong for the company and the pilots. They lose so much in reputation and in the frustration around them. They can not really afford to continue in this way,” the professor added. 

READ MORE: Why are SAS pilots on strike?

Highest passenger numbers for Norwegian since the pandemic

Figures from the airline show that 1.9 million passengers flew with airline Norwegian in June. This is the highest number of travellers for the airline since before the pandemic. 

The high passenger numbers also come despite an air technician strike which led to several cancellations. 

During the same month last year, only 225,000 passengers flew with the airline. 

Norway takes a step towards digital estates

At the turn of the month, Norway took a step towards digitalised estate planning when an amendment came into force that allowed the sharing of information between public agencies, private companies and their heirs. 

“We are developing a solution that gives the survivors an overview of the deceased’s financial conditions such as debt, assets, bank accounts, properties and vehicles,” Bredo Swanberg from the Digitisation Directorate told newswire NTB. 

A simple launch version of digital estate planning will be introduced in the first quarter of 2024. 

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

The GP system in Norway to undergo review, a windfall for Statnett and why low production is a sign energy measures are working are among the headlines from Norway on Thursday. 

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

Norway to review the current GP system

The government has tasked an expert committee to devise measures to improve the current GP scheme, it announced on Thursday morning. 

More than 175,000 residents are currently without a GP in Norway, according to the government. 

“The current action plan (to improve the GP system) has several good measures, but they have not had the desired effect. Then we have to think again, and we have to take new measures. We cannot continue on the same track and hope that the situation will resolve itself over time,” Minister of Health and Care Ingvild Kjerkol said. 

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said next year’s budget would include more funding for the GP scheme. 

Part of the expert committee’s objectives will be to develop proposals for how the GP system should be funded and organised.

In a survey of The Local’s readers on the Norwegian healthcare system, being left on a GP waiting system or struggling to get an appointment were two common issues. 

READ MORE: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

Windfall for Statnett 

State-owned Statnett has announced record bottleneck revenues for July. It made around 3 billion kroner in bottleneck revenues in July, taking the total for the year to over 11 billion kroner. 

Bottleneck revenues is income that Statnett receives when electricity flows from one area to another. The difference between the prices in different regions goes to Statnett.

Last year, Statnett made 5.3 billion kroner from bottleneck revenues. Around 75 percent of Statnett’s revenues have come from bottlenecks this year, according to Europower

One silver lining for those paying record high prices for energy in Norway is that Statnett will eventually have to return the additional income from bottlenecks to customers

Low energy production is a sign that measures are working

Historically low energy production in the south is a sign that measures to ensure a sufficient energy supply in the winter are working, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland has said. 

“It is a positive development that shows that the power producers are holding on to water,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The low production output comes after the government asked producers to slow down production and provide regular updates on the power situation. 

Power production in eastern and south-west Norway fell to a historically low-level last week, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). 

Fears more could slip into fuel poverty this winter

The Norwegian Consumer Council fears that high energy prices could force more people into energy poverty. 

“Many consumers will have to save in other areas to pay the increased electricity costs, while others will struggle to cover the increased expenses”, Inger Lise Blyverket, director of the Consumer Council, said to the consumer rights group’s website.

The Consumer Council said that energy bills could double this year, and the poorest will likely be the hardest hit.