There should be no doubt that the result of this year's wage settlement turned out to end up on the somewhat moderate side, and this has raised a number of questions for us to answer. Based on this we would like to share some of the answers we have already submitted.
For questions about what we actually obtained, we refer to previous information submitted at the following web page: http://www.mafsiden.no/home/what-did-we-really-get-
Due to the Covid-19 situation the negotiating committee this year was reduced to 15 members representing different IE Local Branches in the NR Sector, plus 3 members from Industri Energi Central.
What about all the claims prepared at the Annual General Meeting?
We will always put the claims from the AGM at the top of our agenda, and this applies both to the prior joint Collective Bargaining Conference with our fellow IE Local Branches in the NR Sector, as well as at the negotiations during the Central Settlements
But MAF is not the only one preparing claims for the Central Settlement. At the prior Collective Bargaining Conference, a total of 138 claims from the different IE Local Branches were dealt with. So, reaching consensus in the Negotiating Committee on our own claims, such as promotion of positions, is very difficult to obtain a majority for when the total framework of the Settlement is as small as it turned out this year.
Someone asks why the position of the Hydraulic Engineer was not lifted into a higher wage group as it represented such a prominent claim at our Annual General Meeting.
We were already well aware that it would be difficult to obtain a majority support for our claim on the position of the Hydraulics Engineer, so we tried joining forces with one of the other IE Local Branches, where we persuaded the Local Saipem Branch to form an alliance with us on the matter. Sorry to say, it still did not give a majority, but nevertheless gave us an extra party to influence the other Local IE Branches, through negotiations and lobbying work. But it unfortunately turned out that no matter how much support we had managed to collect, all claims for promotions of positions in the wage scale were swept off the table in order for us to at least achieve something that just looked like a general wage increase.
So, none of the other Local IE Branches, nor even SAFE for that matter, managed to pass such large and expensive individual claim as a promotion position represents.
This time we tried with the Hydraulics and no one would have been able to do more because there was no more to achieve this year. Furthermore, also because our influence represents not more than approx. 10% in the negotiating committee. MAF will continue the work on the matter on their own.
Why percentage increase of salary?
It was simply a general claim from an overwhelming majority of the shop stewards attending the AGM, and the claim obtained a priority in the Negotiating Committee.
Why not having a ballot?
There may be many different opinions on how far to press on and how much risk one should dare to take on behalf of the members. But we do not believe that we, as members of the Negotiating Committee, should send a decision out for a referendum when everyone has the knowledge that the possibilities of bringing more money home are disappointingly small.
In light of what others have achieved this year, there was no belief that we would get any kind of sympathy from the National Mediator, and in order to move on from there, collective dismissals and economical strike support would have become realities.
Here, the long experience as member of the Negotiating Committee is quite important. And the whole committee must dare to take responsibility and not just hide behind the result of a referendum, only to be able to tell the members afterwards that it was a choice of their own.
In the worst case, it might have ended in an economic disaster for the members who would have been forced into a strike from which they probably would not get anything out, while many are already having a hard time due to the corona crisis.
Of course, we will never be afraid to take on an industrial action, which is our most important weapon as a union, but it must be done responsibly to our members and with the right timing.
There simply have to be 2 potential paths to go, otherwise it makes no sense for the members to vote.
We should rather have liked to present our members with a better Settlement, but one should probably also be able to put trust in the result obtained by the IE Negotiating Committee with so many years of experience when the Committee sees that it is best to make a holt with a moderate result.
But in other words, if we are to empty the strike funds of the Union Central, then there must also be a profit in sight that may be defended towards those who are affected, but there was simply nothing more to bring home this year.