Aquaculture companies reach late night pay deal

Three men pose for a photo during pay negotiations

A potentially damaging strike in the Norwegian aquaculture industry was averted late last night.

The employer group Seafood Norway and the trade union organisation Fellesforbundet (“Joint Federation”) have reached a deal much earlier than most people thought. The talks were widely expected to go on into today.

The lead negotiators were Christian Justnes for Fellesforbundet (pictured, right) and Geir Ove Ystmark (left) for Seafood Norway, with Torkjel Nesheim (centre) as mediator (photo: Fellesforbundet).

Christian Justnes said he was well satisfied with the result which gave extra purchasing power to his members along with other so far unspecified benefits.

There will be relief among companies that a deal has been reached as a strike would have meant a serious setback for the industry  at a time when it is facing other pressures including higher costs and taxes and falling salmon prices.

More than 200 fish farms along the Norwegian coast, mostly belonging to the big names in the industry, would have been affected.

Some of the key details include a general pay increase of seven kroner (around 60p) per hour, a NOK 15.77 (£1.10p)  increase per hour in the  minimum wage rate and a skilled worker allowance increase of NOK 6 (45p) per hour.

Christian Justnes added: “We are happy that we have put in place an agreement that ensures increased purchasing power for our members.

“We have received a significant increase in both the minimum wage, on-call allowance and skilled worker allowance. In this way, we lift both the lowest paid and reward competence.

“We have also put in place very important changes within HSE and on-call arrangements, which will mean a lot for the everyday working life of our members.”

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