Train driver strike creates chaos in Norway

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The ongoing train driver strike in Norway that started more than a week ago has spread further as 42 more train drivers joined the strike, newspaper VG reported on Saturday.

On Friday at midnight all the trains at Ostfold railway line were cancelled and the regional trains that still run do not stop at all the stations.

According to the report, there are now 108 drivers of passenger trains of Norwegian State Railways NSB that have joined the strike.

Which departures would be cancelled as a result of the strike will vary from day to day, according to NSB. Since the strike is a legal action, the company can not set up alternative transportation. Therefore, thousands of rail commuters have to find another way to travelling — or stay home.

According to VG, both Askim and Eidsberg municipalities in Ostfold county have arranged offices with tables, chairs and access to Internet for the commuters that have to wait due to the strike. All the local trains of the Ostfold line have been cancelled and there were 20,000 commuters affected.

“A temporary office community is not perceived as strikebreaker,” Rolf Ringdal, leader of the Norwegian Train Driver Association, told public broadcaster NRK.

In the area around Bergen in western Norway, the strike has had bigger consequences than first thought. On Saturday there were two out of three departures from Oslo cancelled, while three out of four will be cancelled on Sunday, VG reported.

In this way, autumn trips to Oslo for many Bergen tourists might be cancelled.

Hakon Myhre, press officer at NSB told NRK that they had discovered that there were more train departures than first thought that were affected by the strike.

The strike started on Thursday last week after a failure in negotiations between the Norwegian Train Driver Association and NSB.

The two parties could not agree on which requirements would apply to train drivers training. Train drivers would like to have a requirement of the national standard for train driver education in the collective agreement.

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