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Norway Hotel Strike. What to do?

We are booked at a hotel in Bergen on May 20, have self-booked the various legs of Norway-in-a-Nutshell on May 21, and have booked at a hotel in Oslo from May 21-24.

Now, there is a hotel strike in Oslo. At this point, it is affecting only certain hotels, but it is expected to spread to other hotels, as well as outside of Oslo. Predictions are that it could last for weeks.

We also have a flight booked from Copenhagen to Bergen, a flight booked from Oslo to London (because my daughter has to go back to England to write her last exam), and a train booked from Oslo to Stockholm.

Our hotel in Oslo has emailed us to say they are still open. But for how long?

Most of our bookings are non-refundable.

What would you suggest? Wait and see? Try Air BnB? Forget Norway and make plans for somewhere else?

Honestly, this may be my last trip to Europe. This is my 4th trip, and on 3 of them, including this, I have been left anxious and scrambling because of strikes (airline strikes in the other 2 cases).

Posted by
2 posts

BB,

I am in the same situation, but departing tomorrow. If I am able to, I will post an update of the status when I arrive in Oslo and can find out more. I share your frustration and anxiety. With non-refundable bookings, it seems that we have to take our chances. I wish I could just cancel all hotel bookings and book air bnb, but the cost is too great to double pay for a non-refundable hotel plus air bnb.

Posted by
329 posts

Oh, I wish you the best. I hope it all works out for you.

It is very frustrating.

I was looking into this further, and two years ago, a similar strike was averted at the last minute through emergency talks. Let's hope something similar happens to stop this one ASAP.

Good luck.

Posted by
5591 posts

http://www.aftenposten.no/okonomi/Koen-vokser-hos-Riksmekleren-8449232.html

Natt til søndag er det forhandlingsinnspurt i staten og kommunene.
Tidlig neste uke kan tusenvis bussjåfører gå i streik. Den 11. mai er
det fare for at NRK-ansatte legger ned arbeidet. I begynnelsen av juni
er det streikefare for bryggerier og brusfabrikker.

Looks like it could be getting worst. Bus drivers may go out next week. The NRK going out 11 May will not likely impact you but brewery workers go out early June.

Fastlåst i hotellene Lørdag morgen går 2447 nye hotell- og
restaurantansatte ut i streik, i tillegg til de 3500 som snart har
streiket i en uke. Selv om det alltid er hemmelig kontakt mellom
partene i en streik, tyder lite på sterk vilje til å finne en løsning.

Looks like 2447 workers may join the 3500 hotel and restaurant workers already striking.

Offentlig sektor – natt til 1. mai Lønnsforhandlingene for 600.000
offentlig ansatte nærmer seg fristen, natt til 1. mai. For en gangs
skyld bærer aktiviteten preg av et sterkt ønske om å unngå megling.
Alle er enige om de økonomiske rammene, i stedet bruker de krefter på
prinsipper. Det er ikke mye enklere, særlig ikke når det er lite
penger til å kjøpe seg velvilje.

Gets worst 1 May. Negotions for 600,000 government workers have a May 1 deadline.

Posted by
204 posts

I would think that the non-refundability of the hotel refers to when you change your mind on a whim. for things beyond your control, they might be more merciful.

airlines sometimes are forgiving. I have written a few airlines about changes in skeds or complaints or emergencies and they have refunded us or gave us miles or vouchers, etc; you may want to talk to them. this strike is really beyond your control.

you don't happen to have travel insurance?

and I was waiting for an account of your NIN experience.

Posted by
36 posts

Oh, my! This is the first I've heard of this! We're flying into Oslo in early June, so I'll be keeping an eye on this.

Posted by
329 posts

I do have travel insurance. I'm not sure if we'd be covered if we chose to change plans at this point, though.

It's not just the hotels and flights that are non-refundable (and the Oslo hotel is, in fact, refundable), but the train from Myrdal to Oslo and the train from Oslo to Stockholm are also non-refundable, as well as the ferry from Gudvangen to Flam, I believe.

I'm not even sure that trying Air B and B would be useful at this point. If it's true that other services, such as buses, are going to join the strike, then we won't be able to do Norway in a Nutshell, which is the whole reason for flying to Bergen in the first place, instead of taking the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo.

Sigh. We're going to give it a few days before changing plans.

I wonder how hwushinske managed today.

Posted by
329 posts

Oh, thank you, Edgar! That is very helpful information.

It looks like neither of our hotels are affected. That puts my mind at ease somewhat.

Posted by
1 posts

Myself & my partner were due to go to Oslo this Thursday 5th May for 3 nights, 4 days.... Flying from Dublin. Our hotel is one of the hotels on strike so they are giving us a refund.. We cancelled our flights and hoping to reclaim through our travel insurance. We got back €22 in taxes from airline but that is all. I am gutted we can't go as it was a christmas present from my boyfriend so he has lost €160 on flights... hopefully we get back our €250 for the hotel.

Posted by
329 posts

Oh, no. I'm sorry that happened to you. I hope you get your refund and can hopefully go another time.

Posted by
5591 posts

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2016/05/05/no-bus-strike-but-more-hotels-hit/
No bus strike but more hotels hit
May 5, 2016

Negotiators for unions representing bus drivers and the organization
representing their employers managed to avert a major strike on
Thursday, after eight hours of overtime talks. There’s still no sign
of settlement in the nationwide strike by hotel and restaurant
workers, though, and it’s set to spread even more next week.

Hotel strike drags on, and set to expand

There’s been no progress, meanwhile, in the strike that has closed or
curtailed operations at hundreds of hotels and restaurants around
Norway. As it dragged towards the end of its second week, the labour
federation representing hotel and restaurant workers (Fellesforbundet)
announced it would spread again.

In addition to the 1,000 workers at around 100 more hotels due to walk
off the job on Saturday, 374 more will join them from Monday. They
will include 105 workers at the Radisson Blu Hotel Norge in Bergen,
which had been shielded from the strike since its workers expect to
lose their jobs when the hotel closes for total renovation later this
year. The federation claimed the workers themselves, however, wanted
to join the strike.

The expansion will bring the number of strikers up to more than 7,000
by early next week. On Wednesday night, the labour federation
announced that yet another 269 members of the unions will be called
out on strike as of 8am next Friday, the 13th of May.

Norway’s largest trade union confederation, LO, was also threatening a
sympathy strike following charges of strike busting at some Clarion
and Scandic Hotels, both in Oslo and at the North Cape, where the
annual summer tourist season is getting underway. Hotel directors
involved firmly denied any strike-busting efforts.

Posted by
2 posts

Last week, things weren't too bad. In Oslo, the hotel I had booked seemed relatively unaffected, other than reduced bar hours. In Bergen, there were slight lines for check in and we were told that the breakfast was reduced. However, it was still more than one would expect from breakfast at most hotels in North America. In Stavanger, along with reduced front desk staff, we had to make our own beds and were told that the room wouldn't be cleaned during our stay. The restaurant was also closed. Unfortunately, you can't expect any discount for the reduced service that you're getting. It seems that we made out better than most. We talked to other travelers who said their hotels were closed and they were forced to move.

Norway in a nutshell ran smoothly and was a great trip. I highly recommend the porter service, which will deliver your bags so you don't have to worry about them. We could have managed the bags, but it was more enjoyable not to have to worry about them. I also recommend bringing lunch with you on the trip. You can get good sandwiches in the Oslo train station, if you're doing the trip in that direction. I preferred the sandwiches from upper crust, even though deli de Luca has more variety.

Posted by
329 posts

Thanks for the update.

Glad it worked out for you.

Posted by
204 posts

hi BB,

have you made changes to your norway trip? airbnb perhaps? or skirt it completely?

we also have a planned norway trip in august but we don't have air tkts yet to norway nor NIN tkts, only air tkts to europe. we have a hotel in norway but it is cancellable. I should really start buying trains or domestic air tkts but am hesitant to do so.

thanks.

Posted by
329 posts

We are still playing it by ear, but have decided to go to Poland if we bail on Norway.

Apparently the strikes have spread, but our hotels are still not involved.

A bigger concern for us now is that airport workers are apparently poised to strike. We have flights into Bergen and out of Oslo on Norwegian Air. Apparently, this means that passengers could be without meals, which doesn't concern me. My bigger concern is that if the strike ends up causing flight disruptions. My daughter has a flight out of Oslo the day before ours, because she has to return to school to write her last final exam. If there's even a hint that she may be stranded in Oslo and unable to get to her exam in time, we will have to change plans. It's difficult, though, as it's so hard to find recent news.

Here is the news I saw today on the hotel strike: http://www.newsinenglish.no/2016/05/13/hotel-strike-heads-into-third-week/

(Note that you will probably be able to look at this article only once, and then you will be required to subscribe if you try to look at it again.)

Posted by
204 posts

we will wait a week or two and if there are no signs of the strike being resolved, we will remove Norway completely from our itin.

Poland is good to visit. if you go to Krakow, visit the wieliczka salt mines, the schindler museum, and if into history, Auschwitz/birkenau. there are also concerts galore performed by young pianists, etc.

Posted by
329 posts

I would hope the strikes would be settled by August.

Well, we leave in less than 24 hours, but will be in Copenhagen for a few days first before we head to Norway. Wish us luck!

Posted by
5591 posts

Hope spring eternal... Strike may be at a conclusion. May 14 news:
http://www.aftenposten.no/okonomi/VG-Hotellstreiken-kan-ga-mot-en-losning-8469304.html

VG: Hotellstreiken kan gå mot en løsning
OPPDATERT: 14.MAI. 2016 17:23 PUBLISERT: 14.MAI. 2016 16:45

The Norwegian newspaper VG is reporting that the hotel strike may be approaching an end. The hotel association appears to be open to compromise about annual wage discussions.

Det er imidlertid lite trolig at hotellstreiken vil ta slutt før 17. mai, skriver VG.

VG says end of strike not likely before 17 May.

Streiken har nå vart i tre uker, og Fellesforbundet har fått 2.500 nye medlemmer i løpet av denne tida, ifølge avisa.

Strike has been going for three wees and unions have gained 2500 new members.

Posted by
329 posts

That's great news and would be perfect timing for us. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
204 posts

hi BB, good luck on your trip. hope everything works out for you.

hi edgar, thanks for keeping all of us updated.

Posted by
1 posts

I just came back from Norway a couple weeks ago. We entered the hotel that was on strike & the front reception (there were only 2 people) helped us get another hotel by calling our hotel reservations provider. It took about an hour, but we got a room at another hotel. I recommend calling your bookings agent for all the hotels & get them to help you find an alternate hotel that is not on strike.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi BB

Was wondering if there was any updates on the situation. I'm also booked on the same trip norway in a nutshell tour and on the same dates. Can I check which hotel you booked as I need to look for alternative hotels now. Could be a problem as i arrive late evening from copenhagen. Thank you!

Posted by
329 posts

Haven't heard anything new but haven't looked in a couple of days--in Copenhagen right now. In Bergen--Grand Terminus Hotel. In Oslo--Frogner House.

Posted by
329 posts

As Norway’s nationwide hotel strike drags on, frustration is running high not only among stranded travelers but also hotel owners unhappy with their own employers’ bargaining organization NHO Reiseliv. One has already checked out of the group, claiming it lacks willingness to negotiate with the unions, and a new attempt at mediation was set for early next week.
Only a sriker's yellow vest was left on a chair outside the entrance of the Thon Hotel Kirkenes this week. The hotel closed shortly after the strike began, as did the local Scandic, leaving stranded guests with few options. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no
Only a striker’s yellow vest was left on a chair outside the entrance of the Thon Hotel Kirkenes this week. It was among the many hotels all over the country that had to close shortly after the strike began, leaving stranded guests with few options. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no
“Something is very wrong when there’s a strike this year,” Per Carlenius, chief executive of the foundation running the Anker Hotel and student housing chain, told newspaper Klassekampen on Friday. “We have good relations with our workers. We don’t have time nor can we afford to be caught in a conflict this long.”
The hotel industry in general had also been doing very well and logging record results until the strike began. Nearly 8,000 hotel and restaurant workers have since been called off the job, and Carlenius said the strike is now costing Anker Hotels NOK 200,000 per day.
“We’re really bleeding from this, and the people paying for it are the students,” he told Klassekampen. Since Anker was a member of NHO Reiseliv, and its employees members of the union representing hotel and restaurant workers, Fellesforbundet, Anker’s hotels in the Oslo area that help finance student housing were among those targeted in the strike that began in late April.
Digging in their heels
Other hotel managers and owners have also voiced frustration with their organization, claiming they have no conflicts with their own employees and that they just want to get back to work. NHO Reiseliv was remaining firm, however, that it won’t give in to union demands for higher wages for the hotels’ lowest-paid workers and for local negotiating rights at individual hotels. Their stand comes even though NHO itself, Norway’s largest employers’ organization, usually advocates local negotiations over centralized collective bargain in other industries.
“We see that there have been differences of opinion between the big hotel chains and other independent operators,” Clas Delp of Fellesforbundet told Klassekampen. “That’s a challenge that NHO has internally, to unite the large and the small, those operating in the cities and those in small towns.” NHO Reiseliv seems to have favoured the large chains that want to set wages centrally, over smaller local operators who don’t object to local negotiations.
Mediation effort looms
Meanwhile, the strike was hurting many areas where hotel accommodation is limited. It also has left stranded visitors with lasting memories of spoiled holidays or business trips, not least in areas where alternative lodging was hard to find.
As the deadlocked strike headed into its fourth week, a state mediator summoned officials from NHO Reiseliv and Fellesforbundet to a meeting on Tuesday, to see whether there was any opening for a settlement. At this point, lots of prestige is at stake, with neither NHO Reiseliv nor Fellesforbundet willing to admit defeat. The prospective loss of members and internal strife will increase pressure on NHO Reiseliv officials, however, and may boost prospects for mediation.
Fellesforbundet, meanwhile, could boast a surge in membership late this week, and already has claimed it has a strike fund large enough to sustain striking members all year if necessary. All new members who work at hotels affected by the strike were also expected to be called out on strike.

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2016/05/20/frustration-rises-over-hotel-strike

Posted by
204 posts

hi BB. you're there in Bergen now, aren't you? what's your situation?

also what about transportation workers?

Posted by
329 posts

Yes. I'm in Bergen. Nutshelling tomorrow.

Everything's fine, other than the rain. No issues at the airport or with the bus into town. (The bus workers settled, I think.). The only sign (literally) I've seen of the strike was a notice on a Radisson Blu downtown, saying it's closed due to the strike.

Posted by
5591 posts

http://www.aftenposten.no/norge/Fellesforbundet-Stor-seier-NHO-Alle-har-tapt-Hvem-vant-egentlig-maratonstreiken-197387b.html

Who won really marathon strike?
BJØRN EGIL HALVORSEN
LENE SKOGSTRØM
UPDATED: 21.MAI.2016 2:48 P.M. PUBLISHED: 21.MAI.2016 12:54

The conflict is resolved. Here are the possible consequences of the agreement.

Opened doors at 15
Hotel director Tarje Hellebust at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel stood ready outside the hotel's doors just before 15 o'clock today, waiting for the guests. The hotel was the first to open Saturday, most others wait until Monday.

  • Now we will look ahead. The strike was finally in the nick of time, says Hellebust, which has several conferences booked in before the summer holidays - and afterward waiting large influx of foreign tourists. All the hotel's 700 rooms were ready to welcome guests. - If we can collect guests at 100-150 rooms the weekend we will be happy, he says. How much property has lost the strike he has not listings yet.
Posted by
204 posts

well, BB. do tell us all about your NIN experience, etc.

thank goodness, the strike is over.

Posted by
329 posts

Just got into my bed in Oslo. Exhausted but happy. NIN was fan-freakin'-tastic (but not without issues). I'll try to do a report when I have more time.