An ongoing strike by nearly 900 workers in several theaters and concert halls around Norway is now threatening upcoming Christmas performances. A meeting with the state mediator this week failed to bring the two sides together, meaning the strike is likely to spread next week.
The workers are demanding better pension plans, especially for female workers. Those striking are largely technicians and other workers behind the scenes, after years of unsuccessful negotiations for pension improvements.
There were some hopes that Norway’s new government minister in charge of cultural issues from the Labour Party would step in to end the strike that largely affects publicly owned venues like the National Theater and the National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Trøndelag Teater in Trondheim, Den Nationale Scene in Bergen and Kilden theater and concert house in Kristiansand. That hadn’t happened as of Friday, and from Monday another 200 workers are set to strike.
The strike started just as the cultural sector was finally able to get back to work after the Corona crisis. Some commentators contend the sector’s biggest problem isn’t pensions but rather getting audiences to return. Unions representing workers disagree, and claim they’re ready to hold out into the winter.