Unions march ahead in troubled times

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SEE THE VIDEO: Norway’s labour movement attracted thousands of supporters on May 1st who turned out for rallies and parades around the country. In Oslo, an estimated 10,000 marched through the city, backed by membership growth spurred by labour conflicts and rising unemployment.

May Day 2016 in Oslo from newsinenglish.no on Vimeo.

As at other rallies and parades held nationwide, Sunday’s demonstration began with a moment of silence to honour 11 oil and offshore workers who didn’t make it home on Friday. They were killed along with two pilots when the helicopter carrying them from a North Sea oil field crashed near Bergen, where flags also flew at half-staff through the weekend.

Turnouts were nonetheless impressive, but union officials didn’t seem surprised. Two of Norway’s biggest union federations have gained hundreds of new members so far this year, growth tied directly to troubled times and more labour conflicts. Frightened by the prospect of unemployment, many simply feel there’s strength in numbers.

Oslo’s parade also featured an international contingent of marchers on Sunday, demanding everything from pensions for Spanish seafarers, to a boycott of Israel because of the Palestinian conflict, to the creation  of more climate-friendly jobs. Banners carried during the lengthy parade, which stretched down Karl Johans Gate in Oslo, also complained about Norway’s rising unemployment rate, urged ongoing battles against racism and right-wing extremism, called for the reopening of Aker Sykehus (Hospital) in Oslo and a halt to privatization.

PHOTOS, VIDEO and TEXT: newsinenglish.no