It’s so nice to be able to bike to work in the mornings. The sun is up earlier, and it’s getting warmer. Although that last part is relative; it is still Norway.

This week is winter break in the schools, which means I don’t have to worry about crashing into kids on my way to work.

Spring is (almost) here.

Signs of Spring in Norway

Every year there are certain signs that spring is coming to Norway: the snow is melting, the crocuses are popping up – and there is a possibility of widespread trade union strikes hanging over our heads.

In Norway, the trade unions hold the potential to paralyze the country for weeks on end. The unions have gathered in clusters, to be able to put forward more powerful demands. The biggest cluster contains roughly 25% of the population of working age.

And it seems like all these confederations or clusters of trade unions have chosen to negotiate in the spring.

This week there was a potential for a transport union strike. It would have put a stop to all transportation by bus. School buses included. Negotiations past the deadline ensured that it did not happen. (Instead we got ash from Iceland, putting all planes and helicoptres on the ground)

There is still a possibility of a construction strike, I think. I’ve chosen to be ignorant of the possibilities – until I am forced to accept them as realities.

Last year, on my first day of work… there was a possibility of a strike at my new place of work. Not the thing you want when you’re new and uncertain of where to go or what to do.

As a kid, I used to love the season, and the possibility that school would be closed on account of strikes. And once it was.

The biggest obstacles come when airline pilots or crew steike, when the healthcare sector does, but also when the garbage collectors do – or the truckers who transport food to the grocery stores. There was a major strike of the truckers some years back – and we almost returned to the rationing system of WWII due to the scarcity of foods in the stores.

But most of the time, springtime in Norway moves on without much trouble at all. Except for this year with the ash coming in from Iceland.