Presently this are two topics that presently are very important for our members from abroad.
MAF receive many inquiries stating that MAF does not do enough for their foreign members. Some members even think that MAF would have worked harder for their Norwegian members if they were to quarantine for 14 days, and at the same time lose 30% of their salary.
The truth is quite clear and explicit, we could never think of treating our members differently depending on the country of residence.
The present topics are problems that has hit everyone in the industry, and we must point out and underline that we do everything we as a trade union can do, and we do what any union possibly can do.
Unfortunately, our options are limited when it comes to losses due to reduced exchange rates and government imposed quarantine regulations. It is by no means a lack of will on our behalf, but it is problematic to act when the issues are outside the tariff agreements and regulations that we usually make use of.
All other local branches and trade unions in Norway with members residing abroad, are in the exact same situation. So, we help each other rather than compete. So, there should be no doubt that we are moving in the same direction. We are in daily contact with our colleagues in the NR sector, and we have daily contact with Industri Energi, and the issue on quarantine is not a chapter concluded.
The exchange rate of NOKs is historically disastrous. Some are of the opinion that if the exchange rate comes down far enough, then the company must do something related to compensation. But the obstructing element is that we are on tariff wages and if the company should pay some extras, for example to Danes or other groups, the company then would be obliged to offer the same to all personnel on the actual tariff wages.
However, we have repeatedly requested the company if they could find any creative solutions to the subject. Partly to help our Danish members financially, and partly to prevent anyone from resigning their position.
Initially the company locally refused our request. Not because the company had no sympathy for the request, but simply because we are on tariff wages, the message sounded. MAF received the answer, but still forwarded the matter to the Board of MDN, hoping that they could help, but unfortunately we got the same answer in Lyngby.
The matter has also been discussed as a matter of concern in S-AMU, without this changing anything.
And then the case with the quarantine at a hotel emerged on top of the first subject. Definitively, we understand the frustration of losing so much money on reduced exchange rates, and at the same time spending so much of your leisure time in quarantine at a hotel. And many of you have certainly experienced a lot of challenges previously at home.
This is not a situation that we in any way wish for any of our members.
The first time the matter was brought to our attention, of course, we started discussing compensation, but the subject was quickly lifted to a higher level to be negotiated centrally. Currently this is not definitively settled.
We also saw a risk that our members from abroad may end up in layoffs because they were not immediately available for work. We were totally clear that if layoffs should come into use we would claim layoffs across borders so that not a single group of foreigners should be affected. No layoffs took place. Unfortunately, we could do nothing but recommend our members from abroad to make themselves available for hotel quarantine.
We can only appeal to you all that you show understanding that we presently are doing everything we can do and that we are doing it for all our members. Presently we just so damn much wish that the subject of quarantine hotel caused by government requirements was part of our Collective Agreement. But there was probably no one who had foreseen this situation.
And yes, we have heard that those who work internationally receive compensation for quarantine stays. But they have no Collective Bargaining Agreement and during the last crisis they received a reduction in wages, while we were given a salary increase and continued working the 2-4 rotation. We must therefore ask you to think about what IE and MAF have previously achieved, and what we will continue to do for all our members.
The fight is still on, also in terms of quarantine. Feel free to read the attached info from IndustriEnergi: https://www.industrienergi.no/nyhet/vi-ser-karantener-i-alle-varianter-det-er-uholdbart-og-lite-respektfullt/
Incidentally, please contact us with any concerns and questions of all kinds.