Unio (The Confederation of Unions for Professionals) has reached an agreement with The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikerne) and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development on a new Basic Collective Agreement for state employees. The framework for this year's wage settlement ended at 3.84 per cent, slightly above the front runner model’s framework of 3.7 per cent.
Since the autumn of 2021, Unio has been exploring the possibilities for a collaboration with Akademikerne on a new, joint Basic Collective Agreement in the state sector. Based on this preliminary work, Unio went into this year's wage negotiations with the aim of entering into a joint agreement together with Akademikerne.
This agreement is now a reality. The joint agreement for Unio and Akademikerne will be the largest agreement in the state sector and will include about 75,000 government employees.
New Agreement Ensures Greater Freedom of Action
– We are happy to have landed a new agreement. We have had a good and constructive collaboration with Akademikerne during the negotiations and the mediation, and we look forward to continuing that collaboration in the enterprises, says Unio’s chief negotiator Guro Lind. She continues:
– The goal has always been to ensure better wage development for the highly educated government employees, and a new agreement is an important step along the way. Not least, the agreement will ensure Unio greater freedom of action over the total pay costs of our members.
This year's mediation in the wage settlement for government employees was a demanding process, which ultimately resulted in an agreement as much as 18 hours after the mediation deadline.
Front Runner Model Breakthrough
The financial framework for the settlement is a total of 3.84 per cent, which is slightly above the front runner model’s framework of 3.7 per cent. The wage carry-over is estimated at 1.7 per cent and the wage drift at 0.4 per cent. 0.1 per cent has been set aside for joint provisions. The available framework is 1.64 percent, and the provisions for local negotiations will be 2.46 percent as of 1 May 2022.
– We have worked hard to get a larger total framework for the settlement in the state sector than the front runner model’s framework and are happy with this breakthrough. In recent settlements, government employees have had a wage development well below the employees in the private sector. Therefore, it was crucial for us to mark a breach with this development this year. Although this settlement does not make up for the entire wage gap that has built up, it is all in all a positive result for government employees, Lind says.
In addition to the financial framework, Unio has negotiated several positive changes to the Basic Collective Agreement.
The wage system has been modernized, and large member groups have been guaranteed an automatic wage development for 10 or 16 years. Many of these members have been cheated for automatic wage promotions due to an outdated pay system. The minimum wage for PhD candidates is increased by NOK 10,000 to NOK 501,200.
A number of improvements have been put in place that strengthen the local union representatives in local negotiations at the enterprises. Another victory is that local union representatives will be covered by the local wage policy and not lose in terms of wages.
Disadvantage surcharges have been increased and affect many of Unio's groups.
Unio did not get through for all its demands. The requirement for a minimum wage for different educational levels was not fully met. However, in connection with the preparation of local wage policy, the parties are encouraged to establish minimum wage levels for positions where a bachelor's and master's education is required. This will be closely followed up by Unio.
The new agreement for Unio and Akademikerne means, among other things, that all wage supplements must be distributed locally at the individual enterprise. Collective wage formation is an important element in the agreement, with the possibility of both general supplements and group supplements.
The new Basic Collective Agreement will apply from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2024.
The new agreement will be sent for a referendum to Unio's members in the state sector, in accordance with the rules in the basic agreement.
Forskerforbundet and the other Unio unions will offer their local union representatives training in the new basic collective agreement, ahead of this year's local wage negotiations.