OSLO — The Norwegian government forced striking police back to work Saturday to help combat the worst floods in the country in 125 years.
About 2,500 police officers went on strike Wednesday, coinciding with the start of the floods, to dramatize demands for higher pay.
Labor Minister Gunnar Berge, saying the walkout by selected police had hampered efforts to contain the floods, ordered the dispute to be sent to compulsory arbitration, leaving the police union no choice but to end the conflict.
The short-lived strike was the first by policemen in Norway since 1958, when Parliament abolished their right to strike. This right was reinstated three months ago.
Officials said one man had died and more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from areas in southeastern Norway flooded by melting snow and heavy rains. About 24,710 acres of farmland, 1% of Norway's arable land, have been flooded.
Most damage was reported from Hedmark province, where the swollen river Glomma has cut off roads, halted trains and isolated towns in the worst floods since water levels were first monitored in 1870.