At the moment Norway is experiencing a series of labor strikes. Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends two articles, one of them translated, about the strikes and their consequences.
The translator includes this note:
These strikes take place on a fairly regular basis. While they are going on the entire country pretty much comes to a standstill, and most of the time the consequences of these industrial actions make the average citizen want to pull his hair out.
The translated article deals with the immigration detention centre at Trandum, where some of the staff are walking out on Wednesday ‘forcing’ the management to release some of the ‘clients’.
First, some excerpts from The Local about the strike by public sector workers (is there a private sector in Norway?):
Norway public sector workers were called out on strike on Thursday after salary negotiations broke down, affecting schools, day care centres and prisons.
Thursday’s strike action is the first in three decades by public sector workers in the country.
Up to 30,000 of Norway’s 600,000 state and municipal employees were taking part in the strike, according to a tally by the NTB news agency. That number was expected to increase unless the different unions can reach wage settlements with central and local governments.
The different unions however had demanded that their members receive the same increase as in the private sector, which they said was nearly 4.3 percent.
“The government cuts us off with worse wage development than for employees in the private sector. That is unreasonable,” Arne Johannessen, chief negotiator for the Unio union representing teachers and day care workers, said in a statement.
Some 8,500 of Unio’s members were taking part in the strike, affecting schools and day care facilities across the country, except for in Oslo, where negotiations continued.
Police, customs authorities and prisons were also affected, forcing for instance all prisoners at one prison to be transferred to other facilities, NTB reported.
The second (translated) article is an account of the effects of the strike on the asylum center at Trandum:
Must release detainees currently being held at Trandum as a result of industrial strike action
128 police officers from the Immigration unit of the Norwegian police (PU) have been chosen to take part in an industrial strike action on Wednesday morning. Of the 128 police officers, 42 are currently assigned to the immigration detention centre at Trandum, which means that an undisclosed number of foreign nationals being held at the centre will have to be released.
“We need to have a minimum police presence at Trandum in order to guarantee the well-being, health and safety of the staff. When we take the step of instructing our members at the detention centre to go on strike, it is going to have an impact on the safety of those who remain, and thus we need to reduce the overall number of detainees. And this invariably means that some of the detainees will have to be released,” Geir Petter Pettersen, local leader of the police union of the Immigration Unit, tells Politiforum [police union magazine].
It is not yet known how many detainees are going to be set free. Among those being held at Trandum are individuals who don’t have any identification documents and those who are awaiting deportation.
Mr. Pettersen emphasizes that the detainees do not pose any danger to society.
In addition to the release of an unspecified number of detainees from the centre at Trandum, foreign nationals awaiting deportation will not be transported out of the country until the strike has been called off.