Pickets hosed down and attempted pushed at sea


The situation got dramatic on the dock in Tromsø when Nor Lines' employees attacked the dockers while picketing during loading and unloading of Hurtigruta (combined passenger/cargo ship, roro) last Thursday afternoon. Nor Lines states that their employees did not deliberately try to hurt anyone.



Video: Truls Bruvold Høegh


After Nord-Troms District Court desided not to grant Nor Lines' request of restraining order for seven named pickets, on their leased terminal Prostneset in Tromsø, the company started to block entry and exit itself. But this has not preventet pickets from entering the area in order to stop the strike breakers loading and unloading Hurtigruta.

Forklifts as weapons

The dispute in Tromsø started when the local dockers went on sympathy strike in December 2013, for the fight for collective agreement for the dockers in Risavika, near Stavanger at the Norwegian west coast. Nor Lines immediately instructed their terminal workers to replace the dockers, despite the fact that both dockers and the Labour Court, as recent as in August last year, concluded that this was to be regarded as strike breaking.

Actions to get the pickets in place has previously resulted in several police arrests, but Thursday's happenings are described as the most dramatic ever. Docker, Kenth Ståle Kristiansen describes the situation:

- We entered the dock by boat and could see the truck coming towards the quayside. When I was climbing the ladder from the boat, the truck suddenly dropped its forks nearly hitting me. I had to do a quick manouver to avoid being hit in the head, he said.

Kristiansen says he is considering reporting the Nor Lines-truck driver to the police. 

- It is not unlikely. This is serious, and total madness to use a truck as a weapon. I had no possibility to escape, therefore very dramatic, he emphasizes. 

Nor Lines' foreman aiming the firehose towards the picketline (from the video above)

Attempted pushed at sea

Kristiansen was with the first batch of dockers arriving at the dock by boat. Docker Asle Sjøgren arrived with the next. He was not 'greeted' by the truck, but by Nor Lines' foreman at the terminal.

- As I came up the ladder and barely got my chest above the quayside I got a solid shove in both shoulders. Fortunately, I had come so far up that I was able to lay my upper body down on the quay. That is the only reason it ended well and I did not fell into the sea. My heart was really palpitating, if I were to fall, the guy behind me on the ladder would have followed, says Sjøgren.

video:video 14

The first batch of dockers arriving. Greeted by a forklift. Video: Web cam Tromsø Havn KF

He manages to get up at the dock and asks the foreman if he had gone mental.

- Did you want to throw me into the ocean, I asked, and got back "if I wanted to I could have thrown you into the ocean", Sjøgren says and confirms there were five witnesses to the incident.

Same is confirmed in a adio file Transportarbeideren has access to (listen here).

Sjøgren acknowledges Nor Lines' attack on the dockers is beoynd what he thought they were capable of.

- I thought we were dealing with grown adults, but I was wrong. Trying to be pushed at sea gives great discomfort, and I am not excluding reporting this to the police, says Sjøgren.

Hosed with fire hose

As Hurtigruta is berthing this day, the dockers are standing in front of the cargo ramp as they usually do. Provisions to the ship, passengers' luggage and cars are being accepted through as always. It is only the loading and unloading of cargo the dockers want to prevent Nor Lines' strike breakers from doing. Yet again the foreman of Nor Lines attacks. This time with the fire hose. Truls Bruvold Høegh, also a docker, recorded the sequence with his mobile phone. 

- Hansen told us that he was going to get us removed in order for him to unload the ship, and as we were standing in front of the ramp he hosed us with the fire hose. This went on for a few minutes. A sailor from the ship got off the ship, told him to stop and called his behaviour childish, says Bruvold Høegh.

Docker Asle Sjøgren
Photo: Roy Ervin Solstad/Transportarbeideren

Sjøgren approaches Hansen.

He is hosing my feet and asking me if I thought he was standing there to make us feel comfortable, says Sjøgren who manages to get the foreman to turn off the water.

Kenth Ståle Kristiansen is frustrated over the whole incident.

- He said he was going to hose us down, not wash the quay. They obviously never wash the quay, it's always dirty here, says Kristainsen.

- Illegal blockade

CEO of Nor Lines, Tor Arne Borge says to Transportarbeideren that the employees only are trying to prevent the dockers in entering closed area.

- I think the activists are trying to portray this as more brutal than it may have been. Our employees are not deliberately trying to hurt anyone, says Borge.

He says that the dockers are welcome to strike. Outside the fence. 

- The activists prevent legitimate activity. We are not negativ towards the strike. And even though the strike is legal, blockade is not. They may stand outside the area handing out flyers, shout and sing, but not break in to our private area, he says.

He hopes the police will come to the same conclusion coming Tuesday when Nor Lines and the dockers are scheduled to meet to discuss the conflict.

The meeting was our initiative and requested in January due to fear of escalation of the conflict if the dockers don't realize that the area is private. I hope the meeting will resolve in dockers ouside the gate, and that they can strike there, he finishes.

Cancels blockade

This meeting is also reason for cancellation of this weekend's blockades.

- I received a call from the police during Thursday's blockade. Our dialogue with the police has been good for a long period of time and that is why we chose to cancel the coming blockades upon their request until the meeting is through, says Geir Ingebrigtsen, head of Tromsø Havne- og Transportarbeiderforening (local docker union).


Above text is translated from Norwegian, read the original article, written by Roy Ervin Solstad for Transportarbeideren, here.


You may also want to read:

A massive attack from the confederation of Norwegian enterprise (NHO)

What is it about the dockworkers?

Sure, the dockers are "hooligans"



  • 17.04.2016 kl.17:21 i International readers
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Jeg er 36 år, bor på landet med min bryggesjauer og våre to barn. Mail: bryggesjauerfrue@live.no