We now know the mediation date between the union and Seafood Norway, but do not yet know which companies will be affected or how many workers will be asked to join a possible strike.

Mediation date set for Norway fish farms pay row

Companies and union ‘determined to find a solution’ says employers’ organisation as strike looms

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A date has been set for mediation between seafood sector organisation Sjømat Norge (Seafood Norway) and the country’s private sector union, Fellesforbundet (the United Federation of Trade Unions), after talks about improved pay and conditions for fish farm workers broke down.

The mediation will take place on June 13 and 14.

If no agreement is reached, the salmon farming industry faces its first sector-wide strike, although Sjømat Norge stressed in a press release that its members and Fellesforbundet were determined to find a solution to the matter and avoid conflict.

Who will face strike?

Fellesforbundet has 3,023 members working in the sector but that is only the potential maximum number that can be taken out on strike. Fewer would strike in the first instance. The number of workers that would be involved in an industrial action normally comes four days before mediation, which in this case is Monday, June 10. The list will also say which companies will be selected for a possible strike.

Sjømat Norge says that companies facing strike action by their workers have the opportunity to apply for exemption from the strike, but there must be very good reasons for this.

“We remind you that the threshold for granting a dispensation is high, there must be a danger to life and health and/or significant material damage to machinery or raw materials.”

Bonus blues

Fellesforbundet is demanding a wage increase of 5.2%, in addition to provisions related to the wage structure.

“We see that they have a wage structure that is far too dependent and controlled by bonus schemes,” union negotiator Christian Justnes told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no.

“You can’t go to the bank with a promise of a bonus over which you really have no control. We want a secure and good salary for our members, and this is one of Norway’s most profitable industries so they can afford to pay people accordingly.”