Jun 1, 2006

On strike!

We're on strike. No work today. Members' meeting in town at 11 am, but no work. Although I am personally excited simply because it's new and different for me, this is actually very bad news. And they did keep trying until 3 am this morning.

Excuse me while I hunt around for all the correct terms in English. I hardly bother with the Norwegian ones (plassoppsigelse, meglingsmann, tvungen lønnsnemnd) and am even more lost with English ones. I managed to find this glossary and can now tell you that the government appointed mediator (or arbitrator) is the Norwegian equivalent to the National Mediation Board (NMB) in the US except that ours functions on behalf of all unions. This May they have been busy; we had to wait until May 30 to get our arbritator.

[Edited paragraph] So the Norwegian NMB arbitrator didn't find any compromises for the two negotiating parties and 6020 of us are on strike. On June 12, we will expand the strike to include 75 76 member banks. The employers' organization ("management" sounds like it's my employer only, which it isn't) has announced a lock-out (nobody gets to go to work, organized or not banning all union members from their workplace) that same day. This means 15 000 members out in strike, and that will include all the banks. The banks always get attention so we except the whole thing to be over by June 16. I'm in insurance, and our union chose insurance workers precisely to make a point but without bugging innocent third parties (too much).

Why June 16? Norway will not tolerate more than a few days without banking, so the government will step in with a "mandatory wage committee". Unlike the arbitrator, the wage committee doesn't negotiate and more often than not, leaves both sides disappointed (though sometimes it has meant that one side "won"). It's a method the government has for getting needed functions back. So police, nurses, bank employees, and several others basically have no real right to strike and if they do, the mandatory wage committee shows up quickly. Certainly they can't be hanging around outside their employer's building with a picket sign for weeks on end. Like we can.

UPDATE: The arbitrator can call for negotiations again at any time, but is required to do so if the conflict lasts more than a month. I find that rather cheering.


I could have mentioned this earlier, but basically, today verified the chart. On May 9 I did a horary chart, asking if we'd win the negotiations. The answer was a yes, but involves Mars. The Moon would perfect to a "yes" by a translation of light, meaning using Mars as a go-between. The interesting thing is that Mars, planet of conflict, rules the house of labor and employees (6th) and the house of contracts and legal disputes (7th). The natural ruler of the 7th (Venus) is in the 6th house. She also rules the Ascendant, and the co-quesitor (as it's called in horary), the Moon, also rules the 10th: Employers. My interpretation: We'll win, but we have to first fight. That Moon can also mean public sympathy or attention. One other union has already declared a sympathy strike in our support during the lockout.


alice said...

This is exciting, even if it would have been better avoided... thanks for keeping us posted!

Keera said...

A Norwegian friend has also requested updates, as he too doesn't know what it's like.