Norwegian airport strikes spread

Bergen airport
Bergen airport

A strike by workers at five Norwegian airports also shut the airport at Kristiansund over the weekend, and more flights were cancelled on Monday.

Submitted by Ed on May 19, 2008

Norway's main international gateway airport at Oslo Gardermoen remained largely shielded from the labour walkout, but at least another 5,000 passengers trying to leave Oslo on flights to other Norwegian cities were stranded on Monday.

Around 50 flights were cancelled, since airports in Bergen, Molde, Kristiansund, Mo i Rana, Harstad/Narvik and Mosjøen are closed. More airport closures are expected on Tuesday.

Officials said 32 flights from Oslo were cancelled on Sunday and 16 more on Monday, disrupting travel plans for around 60,000 passengers through the Oslo airport. Many commute weekly to and from jobs in Norwegian cities.

There has been no contact between Norway’s civil aviation authority Avinor and the union representing Avinor workers, LO Stat, since a strike was called on Friday. No new meetings were planned for Monday.

If no negotiations resume, airports in Stavanger, Alta, Leknes, Sandnessjøen, Sogndal and Svolvær will be hit on Tuesday. More Avinor workers could be pulled off on strike on Wednesday, but Oslo's airport will remain open.

Airlines SAS and Norwegian were complaining bitterly about the strike and urging an end to it, since they're left to deal with stranded passengers and face huge losses. Avinor has no obligation to reimburse the huge cost of cancelled flights, and the airlines consider themselves "innocent bystanders" that are being hit hard by the conflict.

At issue are disagreements over wages and benefits for Avinor workers.