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Stockholm bus strike called off - for now

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15:36 CEST+02:00
The bus strike in Stockholm has been called off - until further notice. The opposing parties have not yet reached an agreement, however. Employer and unions groups will sit down again on Monday to continue negotiations.

According to information given at a press conference held on Friday afternoon, buses are set to resume servicing Stockholm's streets within four hours.

Local transport authority, SL, could not confirm how long it would be before bus services would be running normally again and referred inquiries to Swebus and Busslink, the firms responsible for bus transport in the county of Stockholm.

"We have started to call in drivers and will get going again at once," said Helena Reinhagen at Busslink.

Reinhagen forecast that it could take up to a full day before services are back to normal. She was asked by news agency TT whether any routes would be prioritised and replied:

"It is difficult to so. We are eager to get going across the network as soon as possible, and that those in rural areas that have been isolated are able to get moving again."

Håkan Pettersson, for the union Kommunal, reported that they have gone through the offer point for point and agreed that the parties would meet again on Monday.

"While we negotiate it is customary to cease all strike action," said Pettersson to TT.

He was unwilling to divulge how close to solving the dispute they were and it was left to Peter Jeppsson at employers group, Bussarbetgivarna, to express a ray of hope to travellers.

"We are close to each other. I would be surprised if the strike broke out again. It is a major operation to first call a halt to a strike and then start it all again."

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on Monday that the strike will continue at midnight 24 hours after negotiations have broken down.

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