Norway reaches feed pay deal, but fish farm strike threat remains

fishmeal factory by the sea

Norway’s aquaculture employers have reached a pay agreement with the country’s fish feed and fishmeal workers. A settlement with fish farm staff, however, is going to mediation.

The feed sector settlement includes increases in the minimum wage and overtime and shift pay rates for staff.

The employer organisation Seafood Norway said: “We included new provisions in the collective agreement regarding, among other things, local negotiations, right to breastfeeding leave and text on dyslexia-friendly workplaces.”

The protocol also contains text regarding salaries for meetings in collaboration committees for the industry.”

While there is relief that a settlement has been reached with this important group of workers, the employers remain at a stand-off with fish farm workers and there is talk in Norway – although no more than that at this stage – of possible strike action.

Seafood Norway said at the weekend: “There was a breakdown in the negotiations between Seafood Norway and the Norwegian Confederation of Fisheries (trade unions) regarding the Aquaculture Agreement following negotiations on 22-24 May.”

The settlement now goes to mediation and this will take place on 13 and 14 June. Both Sjømat Norge and Fellesforbundet (the unions) are determined to find a solution to the matter and avoid conflict.”

“Despite the talk of strikes, the fish farming companies are thought unlikely to want a confrontation at a time when the industry is faced with a number of serious biological issues, higher taxes and higher costs.

However, Seafood Norway is preparing the ground for possible action with advice to members which says: “We remind you that if employees cannot be employed as a result of a strike in their own company, a conditional layoff notice must be given with 14 days’ notice.

“This is recommended to be done in the event of a breach in negotiations and subsequent mediation.

“This applies in particular if, as a result of a strike, you will not be able to maintain operations, so that unorganised workers must be made redundant. Within aquaculture, this may be a little different, because here there will normally be a need to have the remaining staff working.”

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