Sunday, November 28

The Labor Party minister is summoned for a dishwashing meeting with the leaders of LO

Several leaders of the LO union demand a meeting to wash dishes with Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård (Labor). The reason is the unwillingness to apply to the EU for an exemption from the IV rail package.

Transport and Communications Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård is causing a stir after statements about not engaging in close combat with the EU over the rail package.

Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård told Aftenposten that it is not certain that the Støre government will ask the EU for an exemption from the rail package.

This is in conflict with the Hurdal platform. There, the government promises that it will “enter into a dialogue with the EU as soon as possible with the aim of guaranteeing Norway an exemption from some of the provisions of the fourth EU railway package.”

The package is controversial because it requires the award of contracts for passenger traffic to be put out to tender.

– The tendering of passenger transport in Oslo and its surroundings will be stopped. They promised us in the electoral campaign and it says so on the Hurdal platform. There is nothing in between. So we look forward to that, says Jane B. Sæthre, head of the Norwegian Railway Association.

She believes that the Støre government should have sent a “suspension order to the Norwegian Railway Directorate to suspend all negotiations related to traffic package 4”.

Traffic package 4 constitutes a complete train offer on the busy sections in the Oslo area.

Then the doubt had been cleared from the path, which now burns without flame. Makes members uncomfortable. I wish I were a little clearer on what you mean by the use of room for maneuver. What do they really mean by the Hurdals platform? Asks Sæthre.

Anger and frustration

The leader of the Norwegian Association of Locomotive Manufacturers, Rolf Ringdal, reacted with “anger and frustration” when he read the interview with the minister.

– If I have to interpret the Minister positively, it is not clear to him. If I interpret it in the worst sense, I don’t think it follows up on what the Labor Party and the government’s statement on the exemption from the competition provision in the railway package are saying, he says.

The association believes that the package does not allow exceptions that give Norway the permanent right to assign passenger transport to its own state-owned companies. According to Ringdal, there is a big difference between “adopting short-term transition rules and actually defending the parliamentary majority and joining the trade union movement.”

– If this is what the minister means by “room for maneuver”, he is on a collision course both with the unions on the railroad and with his own voters, says Ringdal.

Requires a meeting with the Minister

The two unions have asked LO leaders to convene Transport Minister Nygård for a meeting. The Norwegian Railways Association supports the EEA agreement, while the locomotive drivers have decided that Norway should terminate the agreement.

In any case, the entire LO is behind the lawsuit. The LO leadership will apparently emphasize the seriousness of participating in the meeting, Aftenposten reported.

– We want to clarify our opinions. There are no exceptions except for small, isolated sections. They just don’t track the government platform, Ringdal says.

The association’s website claims that the Solberg government’s failed policy is history. And that “The ruling parties say that workers should not now have to stand outside the Storting to demonstrate, but instead enter and join in the decision-making.”

Reality can quickly turn different:

– The Labor Party was very clear that we should get the competitive part out of the package. This has created great expectations among railroad employees. Now we get frustrated messages that we must continue the fight and face the Storting.

– We haven’t arrived yet. But it creates uncertainty and frustration among those who thought they had a government that was clear on this, Ringdal says.

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