…or so it seems. Two businesses, actually, or three – restaurants, arts & music, and hotels.
Those who work there, this is what the talk should be about right now.
The people working in the restaurant downstairs look like they are falling to the ground, physically, right now, when I pass them on my way up the stairs and home. Some, or many, or all in this restaurant, I don’t know, are working double shifts today, from morning till late night, I guess, because the customers are back, lucky for the city, but many people have left their jobs during pandemic times, since the city more or less stopped for a long time, and were started and more or less halted many times.
In Norway we have a lot of money in total, but the last eight years we have had a Conservatives/Progress Party government, after a while ministers from the Christian Democrats and Liberals (both fairly small parties) were added to gain a majority in the parliament, and this government has been showing its unsocial side, it is fair to say. Big dicussions have been going on around the social system, and changes in the system has happened.
There has been enough money to establish economic compensation for businesses hit by the pandemic, but in the case of restaurants/cafes and culture, music/artists etc, it was obvious that the authorities didn’t have a clue how those businesses functioned, so the money came late, or I believe in some cases not at all, and were often not directed in practical ways, for cafe owners or workers, and for musicians.
The social system has been under pressure for years from the Conservatives and the Progress Party (a Populist party) – they have wanted to save money and get people out of the social system, and certainly not always in an orderly manner or a way that takes care of our rights, economically or otherwise.
There has been bureacratic stinginess, rules made meticulously detailed to save money for the state, counting every penny and often not in favour of the people who needed the money.
Both businesses, arts and restaurants, have a large number of pretty small units, down to one musician or a few partners of a restaurant, working hours are not 9 to 5 and the income generally unstable and small. Ups and downs in the work are of course sensitive to ups and downs in city life and the economy in general.
To tilt systems like these is easy, and this happened to a large extent.
The focus of the govrnment seemed to be on the big money, the idea seemingly that if the big guys didn’t fall, the whole economy wouldn’t.
But many small units comprise, in total, many people working, and money for many to live on.
Doing creative work when rules were changing all the time were also difficult for people, one day you could kind of do your work, the next it was forbidden because of concern about contagion.
The understanding of a creative or artistic work life is not really common knowledge in Norway, either.
Erna Solberg, Conservative PM the last eight years, until the election 2021, at one point said that “people could find other jobs”, meaning more or less that losing a job in the restaurant business was not a problem.
So, it seems that many left.
There was no consensus or even real political discussions on the matters concerning the business itself, other than a general stir on economic, social rights.
Which is normal.
The context of anything that touches upon alcohol is peculiar to Scandnavia, I guess, and Norway in particular. This makes some discussions irrational.
The restaurant business has had a boom the last 10-20 years, and depending on how you see it, even longer than this, and it has meant new jobs and income for the state and for everybody involved, and obviously activity on a lower level of CO2 emissions than for instance oil production.
The number of people working in these businesses has been substantial, and both restaurants, concerts etc and hotels are of course intertwined, for obvious reasons, and also many artists etc work parttime in cafés.
If you take away one piece of this puzzle there will be consequences for the rest.
Brexit is also mentioned as having an effect on how many are still here and how many left the country the last months and years, but I don’t know right now the details in this.
For interested guys & girls there is work, at least, so it seems, right now.