Angry Norwegian railroad workers are threatening to halt Norway’s trains once again, if the government doesn’t postpone implementation of the latest package of EU rail directives. Now the striking workers aim to halt trains in the middle of an afternoon commuter rush period.
A two-hour political strike last week halted trains all over the country, and led to sympathy strikes by trams and metro drivers. That caused delays and cancellations throughout the afternoon.
Now the strikers want to make their message tougher. They’re threatening to walk off the job from 2pm until 4pm on October 31. Since Norway’s busiest commuter period roughly runs between 3pm and 5pm, the timing of the strike would cause massive disruption.
Despite last week’s strike and demonstrations in front of Parliament and in several other Norwegian cities, the railroad and railway workers don’t think they’re being heard. They believe that the disputed EU directives (aimed at standardizing railroad infrastructure and thus making it easier for railway firms to compete for routes across borders) will reduce Norwegian officials’ ability to retain control over their own national train service. Government officials disagree and support the EU’s effort to streamline railroads and enhance competition.