The Norwegian union LO (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge) has begun one of the biggest general strikes in modern history, and have pulled 24,000 workers on general strike on the morning of April 17, 2013.
The big strike is likely to make a big impact in the everyday life of most people, giving the strikers a good bargaining chip for further bargains with the employer’s union. Their main demand is to get a salary increase that is higher than the rate of the consumer price index, giving them more purchasing power.
Workers from many different industries have been called on strike, but most are industrial workers, blue collar workers or workers in the service industry.
Update on March 20, 2023: The strike has now ended.
How the strike will affect everyday life for Norwegians
It’s a bit difficult to estimate exactly how the everyday like of regular people will be affected by the strike, simply because of the sheer number of workers and different businesses that have been called to strike.
However, it seem very likely that the strike will have a big impact, and there are some industries and areas where people are going to see a big difference.
Norway’s two biggest beer breweries and soft drink producers Hansa Borg and Ringnes have enough people striking that they have stopped production. This means that regular grocery stores won’t get any additional beer or soft drinks delivered from Hansa Borg or Ringnes until the strike is over, and it seems likely that Norway will get a beer and soft drink shortage.
All brands from these two producers are being impacted, including popular beer like Carsberg, Frydenlund, and Tuborg, and soft drinks like Pepsi Max, Solo and Farris (flavored water).
The other big sector to be pulled on strike are workers on passenger ferries. Expect many ferries to have severely reduced departure intervals, and some to even be completely closed until the strike is over. This is obviously going to be a huge problem for people who are dependent on the ferries to get between work and home.
There are way too many ferries to list here, so check out your local ferry company for more information.
Other sectors where many workers have been pulled on strike are:
- Automobile repair shops.
- Road construction and road repair workers.
- Workers at IKEA.
- Workers at Nidar (chocolate producer). No new chocolate or snacks are currently being produced.
- Hotel workers and people in the service industry.
Other sectors such as the offshore oil industry and aluminum production industry has had a lot of people on strike as well, but this is unlikely to have direct effects on the everyday life of regular people.
Tourists might be affected by hotel staff on strike
The strike does not seem to have had too much impact on tourists who are visiting Norway at the moment, but there are some businesses that have been affected.
Two hotels in Oslo, Grand Hotel and Radisson Blu have both been affected by the strike. It is currently unclear if it is having any practical effects for guests staying at either of these hotels, or if they manage to keep it operational.
Other than that, tourists are likely to be affected by many of the same problems as locals, such as the beer and soft drink shortage, and the ferry strike.
I urge all tourists to make sure that your planned ferry ride is still operational before actually going to the pier.
Another 17,000 workers will likely be called to strike on Friday
Unless the strike is resolved before Friday, LO has announced that they and their partners are planning to call an additional 17,000 workers on strike. This next phase will call workers from the transportation industry, and is expected to impact the deliverance of goods to grocery stores and other stores in the country.
Why LO is pulling workers on strike
Norway’s biggest umbrella union LO is currently in negotiation over the rights of the workers who are part of the union, and they are primarily fighting to get a salary increase that is higher than the consumer price index (which is at 4.9 %). If they succeed, their workers will have a real salary increase that will actually make their purchasing power greater than the year before.
How long will the general strike last?
There seem to currently be a big divide between the worker’s union and the representatives for the companies that are bargaining over wages, so it seems likely that the strike will continue for at least a few days, but potentially a lot longer.
That said, no one can know for sure just how long the strike will last, so it’s best to prepare for it to last a long time.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.