UPDATED: As Norway’s lengthiest hospital strike dragged into its fifth week, both the unions representing striking medical professionals and their employers were ordered into mediation on Wednesday. No solution was found, with another 20 doctors due to be pulled off the job from Monday.
“We’re expanding the strike to put more pressure on (hospital employers) in advance of the mediation,” said Rune Frøyland, leader of the labour organization Akademikerne helse. He said the union still wants to perserve existing terms for the amount of time doctors spend on the job that exceeds the limits of Norwegian labour regulations.
Hospital employers want more flexibility for long-term planning and scheduling. Frøyland insists it’s possible “to find a solution that secures both sides.” Efforts Wednesday, however, ended in deadlock.
If the strike continues, a total of 628 doctors, psychologists, engineers, lawyers, economists, political scientists and dentists will be out on strike nationwide. The strike has forced postponement of hundreds of non-critical operations around the country but won’t be allowed to pose a danger to life or health. Health Minister Bent Høie has said he’s following the situation closely and will step in if deemed necessary.