Mediation to avoid a massive strike in Norway extended well into overtime on Sunday, postponing a walkout of roughly 35,000 employees in the private sector. Leaders of the country’s national employers’ organization and largest trade union federations kept talking long after Saturday’s midnight deadline, but the distance between them was reportedly great.
State mediator Nils Dalseide had said shortly after the midnight deadline that he’d detected progress in the negotiations. Then he disappeared back into meetings, and no further status reports had been offered as of Sunday mid-afternoon, stirring speculation that talks had bogged down.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported it had been told that none of the biggest conflicts (over pensions, wage growth and compensation for travel expenses) had been solved as of mid-afternoon on Sunday. By that time, negotiations had gone on for more than 13 hours into overtime.
A failure to come to terms will send tens of thousands of workers out on strike. Bus service in Oslo, Stavanger and Drammen will be shut down, as will several key ferry lines around the country including the heavily used ferries between Nesodden and Oslo. Workers at various food producers, cleaning companies, offshore workers and even hair salons will also be called off the job in the biggest nationwide strike to hit Norway for 18 years.
(This story will be updated.)