Strike disappoints ‘Scream’ fans

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Ships were back in Norwegian harbours on Monday but arriving tourists were still being hit with disappointments, while others languished in long lines at Norwegian airports. Ongoing strikes continued to hit innocent third parties as labour conflicts dragged into another week of disruption in public services.

Ongoing strikes, along with preparation for a new exhibit, have prevented visitors from seeing Edvard Munch's "Scream" in Oslo. PHOTO: Munch Museum Oslo

Cruiseships were among those that finally could tie up in Oslo once again, but any of their passengers wanting to see the most famous painting in the world were set to strike out. Norway’s three versions of Skriket (The Scream) by Edvard Munch were not on view, because a strike by security guards forced the closure of Norway’s National Gallery in Oslo. The Munch Museum was also closed, pending the opening of a new exhibit on June 9.

Tourists were met by locked doors at the National Gallery over the weekend and on Monday, while tourism officials warned the strikes were hurting Norway’s tourism industry. Thousands couldn’t even set foot in the country last week, when their cruiseships were turned away because of a port pilots’ strike. That’s been settled, but now both tourists and traveling Norwegians are also facing major disruptions at local airports because of striking workers at security control points.

Three airports were forced to closed  Monday morning – at Kristiansund, Alta and Sandnessjøen – and Bodø was closing at midday. Tromsø’s airport closed on Sunday afternoon, while passengers at other airports were being told to arrive at the airport at least least two hours earlier than they normally would. That means at least three hours before their flight’s departure time.

While some passengers complained of standing in line for well over an hour during the weekend, officials at Norway’s gateway airport, OSL Gardermoen, said security control was functioning more quickly than expected early this week. There were long lines again early Monday morning, but by late morning, delays reportedly were down to around a half-hour.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that at Bergen’s Flesland airport, some passengers started showing up at 4:30am to get in line for morning flights.

Many other services still disrupted, too
Ongoing strikes by public sector workers in Norwegian kommuner (municipalities) also continued to disrupt a wide range of services, as did those by state workers tied to the labour organization Unio, which didn’t settle over the weekend like their counterparts did in other organizations.

As of Monday morning, 1,300 police officers were on strike in Hordaland, Salten, Søndre Buskerud, Agder, Osio, Troms and Sør-Trøndelag. Nearly 1,800 workers at universities and colleges were on strike around the country along with thousands of teachers and workers at schools and day care centers that remained closed. More than 100 state meteorologists were on strike, meaning there were no TV weather reports on state broadcaster NRK, and around 1,600 nurses were off the job, affecting nursing homes and health stations.

No negotiations were underway as of midday Monday, and unions warned more workers would be pulled out on strike from Thursday. Oslo’s harbor faced closure, and garbage wasn’t being collected.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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