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Norway Bus Driver Strike Goes National

Local buses in Oslo, Norway

Norway’s bus driver strike will continue into a second week as the parties are still not communicating with one another. Public transport remains severely limited in Oslo and most of Norway's counties.

Early on Saturday morning another 4,500 bus drivers joined a strike, almost doubling the number that have downed tools in Oslo and Viken since last weekend.

UPDATE: The strike is over

In addition to Oslo and Viken, bus drivers in Vestland, Trøndelag, Rogaland and Finnmark have also now gone on strike. Some routes in Nordland, Agder and Møre og Romsdal are also affected.

Norway’s bus drivers are unhappy with working time arrangements, wages and safety. The strike could be set to last a while, as there is no contact between the employers and the trade unions at the time of writing. Scroll down for the latest information.

Only buses affected

Boat routes, trains, trams and light rail are not affected by the strike. This means that users of Oslo’s T-Bane and Bergen’s Bybanen light rail systems are unaffected, although services are likely to be busier. In Trondheim, just passenger ferries and the single tram line are in operation.

Metro bus test in Trondheim

Skyss coordinates the public transport offer in and around Bergen. Director Målfrid Vik Sønstabø advises everyone in Vestland to consult the websites of Skyss and Kringom for full details.

“We have started posting information on our website and we do so continuously. So stay tuned. There is also information about the few departures by bus that are run,” Sønstabø told NRK.

Why are Norway's bus drivers striking?

“Bus drivers have very demanding working hours, wages are low, safety is under threat and we are worried about the future of this important profession. That is why we are now taking more people on strike,” said trade union spokesperson Jørn Eggum in a statement.

According to Norwegian finance website e24, the entry-level starting salary for a bus driver is NOK 340,000. This compares with the average executive salary of NOK 2.85 million.

Trondheim bus 55 with Norwegian flag

Since 2017, Norway's bus drivers have seen a salary increase of just 3.85%. “These figures strip all sense of credibility from employers. I become despondent when the hypocrisy shows its true face as some bosses get bonuses and wage increases equivalent to an annual salary for a bus driver while also urging bus drivers to show moderation,” said Eggum.

Employers' organisation NHO Transport has repeatedly said it does not think wage increases are needed. “We have nothing more to offer. The bus drivers get the same level of wage increase as other industrial workers get,” said NHO Transport's CEO Jon Stordrange to VG.

Next steps: Parties remain deadlocked

Simply put, who knows? As of 8am on Monday morning, there is still no communication between the parties.

This means the strike is certain to run into Monday, and likely later in the week, causing issues for people getting to work and school.

“We have signalled a willingness to resume negotiations as soon as the employer side contacts us and shows a willingness to find a solution,” said a Fellesforbundet spokesperson.

However, NHO Transport representative said that they have not considered a new offer and there are “no plans” for any concrete initiative from their part.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

4 Comments

  1. all good…til they hire new drivers in their place. they should be appreciative they have jobs during this global pandemic where masses are unemployed.

  2. A three percent raise since 2016. Good for them for striking! There is always something why they don’t get a raise and now its the pandemic. Always something. This is not the USA and unemployed means still being paid. People complain when they have no idea what they are complaining about.( A Norwegian citizen )

  3. James Davis misses the point. The pandemic is not the issue, and if it weren’t the pandemic, some other excuse could be considered. How are Executive bonuses justified James? Given a 3% inflationary rate, the bus drivers are just under 7% behind on their wages while executives get bonuses?. This sounds SO AMERICAN! Ha!

  4. They deserve to be treated better, its not about the payment, but its about the risk of their lives getting infected and the fear of the virus harming their family during this pandemic. Since quarantine has been lifted, locals stopped caring about social distancing and buses are crowded all over again. And majority of passengers are too dumb not wanting to wear mask at all. Bus drivers are the fronliners as well, they didn’t get a break since the pandemic, They need compensation for having to be exposed to crowd of people with potential threat of virus.

    COMPENSATE THE BUS DRIVERS!

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