Around 1,300 teachers were on strike in 17 cities and townships around Norway, just as the first full week of school was getting underway. On Monday union officials warned that the strike will be expanded from next Monday (August 29).
The strike actually began just before the school year ended in June, but with school out of session it didn’t have much impact until now. High schools, junior high schools, elementary schools and even some day care centers are affected from Tromsø, Harstad and Bodø in the north to Arendal and Porsgrunn in the south. Oslo, meanwhile, is not involved in the strike since its unions settled with city officials before the summer holidays.
The striking teachers are demanding higher pay and got a boost on Monday from the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, Abid Raja. He said he didn’t want to mix himself up in the conflict, but claimed that “teachers’ pay must go up. This is a group that must be seen and heard.”
Union leader Steffen Handal said he’s prepared for a lengthy strike: “The teachers want most of all to be back in their classroom, but when KS (the national organization representing local communities’ as employers) chooses to make teachers the pay-losers for the seventh year in a row we unfortunately didn’t have any choice.” KS officials called the strike “very unfortunate after two years of a pandemic,” adding that they didn’t have higher pay to offer.