It took a while before Augustin Mortier decided to become a member of Forskerforbundet, but the French meteorologist has no regrets that he did.
“It took me some time to realise that I had to be part of a union, and what a big deal it is here. It seems like it is much more common to be a union member here than in France.”
Augustin Mortier hails from Northern France, where he studied physics at Université de Lille. He came to Norway five years ago and works as a researcher at The Norwegian Meteorological Institute in the Division for Climate Modelling and Air Pollution.
“I suddenly got the opportunity when they were looking for someone with my background. I started on a six months contract, and here I am, five years later”, says Augustin.
An important field of research
Augustin’s field of research is aerosols – particles that may be natural or created by humans. Some aerosols have an impact on the climate and negatively affect our health when we inhale them. So this is not only an important field, but unfortunately one that’s more relevant than ever.
One of Augustin’s central tasks is to evaluate the climate models using actual observations, so that we can have confidence in the accuracy of these models.
“Secondly, and more specifically, I have worked on estimations on the concentration of volcanic ash, which presented a risk of flying after the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland in 2010 and caused chaos at airports across Europe.”
When you work in science, there are stimulating challenges every day, Augustin explains.
“To solve your problems, you have to stay up to date, both when it comes to new findings and developments in technology. And once you have the results, you need to communicate your findings.”
Someone to look out for you
Being a scientist is about a lot more than just research. Working conditions, insurance and bank services, legal advice, discounts and professional networks – the benefits of joining Forskerforbundet are numerous.
For Augustin Mortier, however, there was an even more important benefit – being able to negotiate his salary with the union behind him.
“I used my membership to get a raise. I actually tried once before, but being a member of Forskerforbundet really helped.”
What would you say to your fellow researchers who aren’t interested in unionizing?
“In Norway it’s quite normal to be part of a union, and I think it’s important that someone looks after our rights. Plus, I got my raise!”