Striking journalists at Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) were returning to work on Thursday after settling their differences with management Wednesday night. It meant millions of Norwegians could once again start tuning in to NRK’s extensive commercial-free newscasts and public affairs programming, and hear something other than canned music.
“We have found a solution that’s good, good for NRK and for all involved,” NRK chief Thor Gjermund Eriksen told reporters at a press conference. “I’m very happy for the total solution.”
So were representatives for NRK’s 1,700 journalists who walked off the job as of 1pm last Monday. The strike left Norwegians without any coverage of major events last week including traditional all-day reporting on 17th of May celebrations and last weekend’s royal wedding in London.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Richard Aune, leader of the journalists’ union. “We think we’ve had a breakthrough in our most important demands.” They included higher pay and better terms and working conditions for young journalists who often are only offered short-term contracts with little or no job security.
Jarle Roheim Håkonsen, one of NRK’s high-profile news anchors, claimed the strike was completely necessary in order to secure the journalists’ demands. “We have had so much support from folks, really strong motivation and even good weather (while out demonstrating),” Håkonsen told news bureau NTB when the strike was over. On several occasions he was the one holding a megaphone out on the picket lines, and among those accusing NRK of strike-busting attempts by using non-organized celebrities during a brief attempt to broadcast some 17th of May events.
“But it was sad that we had to disappoint the public by holding forth like we did,” Håkonsen told NTB. “We would have preferred that it wasn’t necessary.”
NRK’s popular nightly national newscast Dagsrevyen would be back on the air at 7pm Thursday, with most regular news programming on radio and TV resuming from 7am. Some top of the hour newscasts were back on the air right after midnight.