Parat victory in conflict with Norwegian

May 19, 2014

In the early hours of Monday, Parat and Norwegian reached an agreement on a new collective agreement and the strike has been called off. The head of the Cabin Crew Association, Marit Lindén, says that their demands have been met and agreement has beenreached on a common collective agreement structure for Norway and Denmark.

In recent days there has been contact between the parties and Parat’s leader, Hans-Erik Skjæggerud, says he is happy that Norwegian and Bjørn Kjos now have reached an agreement that satisfies the demands of the flight attendants’ union.

“We now have collective agreements that provide a common super-structure for Norway and Denmark, which are approximately the same as the agreement we have had for the last four years. The principles of Norwegian jurisdiction, legislation and negotiation system have been important for us, and this continues now for our members at the base in Copenhagen”, says Parat’s leader.

Permanent jobs and Norwegian bases to be maintained
According to Skjæggerud, the agreement ensures that cabin crew in Denmark have permanent job in Norwegian.

“None of the Norwegian bases will be closed, the employees in Denmark will keep their jobs with the company and the agreement relating to ID tickets continues just as the scheme was before the strike. That means that the company has withdrawn all the threats that were made in the much-publicised text message sent out by Norwegian management during the negotiations,” says Parat’s leader.

Apprentices and common contractual structure
Parat’s head of negotiations, Turid Svendsen, says she is pleased that the apprentices in Norwegian will be covered by the collective agreement also in the future, and that Norwegian and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) have accepted the demands that Parat have constantly presented in this case.

“The common agreement structure that we now have for Norway and Denmark continues the arrangement relating to wages and working conditions that we have at present, fully in line with our demands,” says Svendsen.

Over time, the issue of pensions in Norwegian has been demanding and the company was, as one will be aware, found guilty of gross tariff violations in a judgement handed down by the Labour Court of Norway regarding pension issues for pilots.

“It has been accepted that the cabin crew will be given more influence on matters relating to their own pensions, but we have not been able to reach an agreement with the company under which the cabin crew will be indemnified for the unauthorized changes that the company made to cabin crew pensions. This matter will now be subject to a court hearing,” says Svendsen, who is nevertheless pleased that industry standards governing the right to be consulted on pension issues also apply to Norwegian’s cabin crew.

Management rights
While the parties sat with the State mediator, a text message was sent by Norwegian to all employees, and this were perceived as a threat that a strike would have an impact on the individual’s employment relationship.

“It was important for us to have established that this type of behaviour is not compatible with the working environment we want in Norwegian. We have therefore demanded, and received, a separate protocol stating that the employer’s management rights should not use as a threat against an otherwise lawful labour dispute. For us, this is important if we are to establish a good working environment,” says Marit Lindén, of the Cabin Crew Association

Unanimity throughout the conflict has been great and support from united Norwegian trade unions has been important through it all, says René-Charles Gustavsen, the only one that has been taken out on strike.

“I’ve been buoyed up by undivided support from my colleagues, both in the cabin and the cockpit,” says Gustavsen, who adds that this bodes well for future cooperation among employees in Norwegian.

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