Hospital in north Norway postpones operations due to SAS pilots’ strike

Some elective procedures at Nordland Hospital in north Norway have been cancelled due to the SAS pilots' strike causing staffing issues for hospitals in the north.

Pictured is an SAS aircraft.
An SAS plane approaches Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm File Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP.

Due to an ongoing SAS pilot strike in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Nordland Hospital in north Norway has had push back some elective operations. 

“The ongoing strike has led to further challenges, and we have therefore had to reduce some elective operations, both surgeries and outpatient clinics,” the acting HR manager at Nordland Hospital, Kari Brumoen Råstad, told public broadcaster NRK on Monday. 

An elective operation is a planned non-urgent procedure, as opposed to emergency and acute operations. 

The state administrator in Troms og Finnmark, Helse Nord, the county doctor and the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision held a meeting on Monday to discuss the consequences of the SAS strike on the health service in the region. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest with the SAS pilots’ strike

The strike has led to staffing problems for health services in the north as visiting doctors cannot get to work, and employees on vacation have been left stranded, meaning other staff are not allowed to holiday until staff numbers are replenished. 

Nordland hospital is on “yellow alert” due to a staffing situation concerning holiday cancellations, vacancies, a persistently increased sickness absence and hospitalisations due to Covid.

Similarly, the University Hospital of North Norway has told the state administrator for Troms og Finnmark that they may be forced to reduce intensive care capacity due to the strike.

The Norwegian Board of Health said it would report to the government on the effects of the strike. 

“We follow the situation with regard to the health service’s ability to ensure life and health as we always do in connection with legal labour disputes. We have planned to report to the Ministry of Health and Care Services tomorrow before the end of the working day,” the health board told NRK on Monday. 

The government recently ended an air technician strike over public health concerns and forced parties to a wage mediation board when the strike action threatened to ground air ambulances in the north. 

It currently isn’t clear whether the Norwegian government would be willing to end the ongoing SAS strike. 

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Number of teachers on strike in Norway passes 8,000

Some 1,800 teachers in Norway joined an ongoing strike over wages and salary growth on Monday, bringing the number of education professionals taking industrial action to over 8,000.

Number of teachers on strike in Norway passes 8,000

The teachers’ strike in Norway stepped up again on Monday, with 1,800 new education professionals joining the industrial action.

On Sunday, the Education Association and The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) met with the ombudsman, but talks broke down after around two hours.

“They (KS) show no signs of movement, it is very deadlocked,” Steffen Handal, head of the Education Association, told Norwegian newswire NTB.

Handal fears that the two parties will be unable to reach an agreement, and the government will refer the two parties to a compulsory wage board to thrash out a deal.

However, the national mediation service said there would be fresh talks between the two parties shortly.

For an overview of schools affected by the strike, click here

Teachers are striking over wage growth. The feeling among union members is that education professionals have been the wage losers during collective bargaining negotiations between the public sector and KS for six years.

In May, KS’s offer for the public sector was accepted as a whole. However, teachers opted to strike as they were unhappy with the agreement.

Over the last week, a number of groups have called on the government to force the strike to an end. However, it would be unusual for the government to end the strike as it typically only forces parties to a compulsory wage board when there is a threat to public health. Additionally, the strike is complicated by the teachers’ right to strike and pupils’ right to education.

READ MORE: Could the Norwegian government force an end to the teachers’ strike?