Newsletter December -20
Union activities during the autumn.
Published: Tuesday 22 Dec 2020
Last updated: Tuesday 22 Dec 2020
Christmas is just around the corner and with it a much-needed holiday for you as a member.
The autumn has been intense for all of us in many ways. At the Saco-S Association's annual meeting in early October, we highlighted the workload and work environment vis-à-vis the pandemic that prevailed during the year and the work that Saco-S has done and is doing regarding salaries and wage setting in RALS 2019 and before RALS 2020. You can access the minutes from the annual meeting in the following link (in Swedish only):
At the first meeting with the new board of the Saco-S association at LNU in mid-October, representatives were elected to various bodies within the university and responsibilities were divided between the board members. As a member, you can contact the board if you have questions. Contact information and division of responsibilities within the board can be found by selecting the menu "CONTACT" in the line at the top of this page.
Regarding the current corona pandemic, many members have testified to an increased workload and pressure on the work environment. Already at MBL on March 17 (the day before the new special measures to switch to digital teaching and examination were taken), Saco pointed out together with other staff organizations that this will lead to tasks being changed for many employees. We also pointed out that "there is a risk that the situation will be strained and that there will be negative work environment consequences and overtime work for certain staff categories". We also emphasized the importance of “that the employer is aware of the employees' work situation and is prepared for a dialogue about possible solutions” (quote from the MBL Protocol 200317). At the MBL negotiation before the decision on establishing the business plan and budget 2021-2025, Saco and other staff organizations pointed out “that the current pandemic was not primarily a financial effort for the university [which the employer implied - but instead one of staff. A budgeted deficit in 2020 seems to be a significant surplus, which is also planned for 2021. Employees seem to have to pay for the pandemic with deteriorating working conditions." (quote from MBL Protocol 201124).
Regarding the SACO Board's continued work with salary setting at LNU, we have once again pointed out to the employer the low salary situation in relation to other higher education institutions, especially regarding senior lecturers, assistant professors and certain groups of TA staff. We believe that the employer endangers good supply of competence with this generally low wage situation and we have pointed out that it is of the utmost importance that a higher education institution acts to improve working conditions and competitive wages. At the time of writing, unfortunately, the wage setting process for 2019 is not ready for the thirty or so members who disagreed with the employer about his proposal for a new salary. For the fourth year, the Saco-S association has conducted an evaluation among the members and here we see that the wage setting process for the year 2019 in several respects still does not work satisfactorily. The survey was conducted during the second part of November and we will return in the beginning of next year with a summary of the results - where we will also make comparisons with previous years.
During spring and autumn, the Saco-S association has acted on several occasions, both at MBL and the University board, to try to prevent redundancies and deteriorating working conditions due to the lack of work at the Maritime Academy that the employer has decided on. Unfortunately, two employees were laid off this autumn. However, we continue our work to monitor the development of working conditions at the department.
During autumn, the Saco-S association has also been involved in interviews with candidates in the recruitment of, among others, vice-rectors and deans. We have had remarks on the processes that have been implemented and have, among other things, expressed that the university prior to the recruitment processes should have considered the plan for gender mainstreaming that was established a couple of years ago.
During the autumn, a work environment survey was conducted - where answers about the distance between organization/management and employees as well as workload on a general level show that there is significant potential for improvement. We also note that the workload at many institutions and departments/units is very high.
In 2020, work has been ongoing in two joint working groups, consisting of representatives of employers and trade unions. One group has been commissioned to review the working hour agreement for teachers - with a focus on administrative time. At present, there is a proposal that will be MBL-negotiated in spring-21. The other group has worked with issues of co-influence at the university. A report has been made at MBL and a new working group has been appointed with partly new members, who have been commissioned to continue in the spring of '21 to propose more concrete measures for increased participation.
In December, the Saco-S association held a digital membership meeting in which our contact the ombudsman Michael Svedemar from SULF participated. Michael talked about the consequences of workload related to the pandemic, and why you should be a member of a Saco-S union. About fifty members participated in the Swedish version of the meeting and just under ten in the English version of the same meeting. You can access the presentation from the members' meeting here or up to the right of this page (in Swedish only).
We gratefully accept suggestions and views on what Saco-S association can work on.
We wish that all members - who we know have done their very best this year - can enjoy and relax properly during the coming holidays. It is needed after your responsibly performed work.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The board of the Saco-S association at Linnaeus University
Jan Andersson and Gunilla Gunnarsson (chairman and vice-chairman, respectively)