Newsletter March -21
This newsletter presents a selection of things that the Saco-S association has been working on during the initial months of the year. These include issues related to the pandemic, the completed and the upcoming pay review, service plans and Retendo, the goal and vision work at the university, and the university's activities and results.
Published: Wednesday 31 Mar 2021
Last updated: Wednesday 31 Mar 2021
It has now been over a year since the transition of teaching and examination to digital forms took place following a decision by the principal. In many ways, this change has affected the work situation for our members of the Saco-S association. The Vice-Chancellor has recently made an updated decision due to the pandemic and here we, the Saco-S association, pointed out that we “see an increased stress in the work environment caused by the duration of the pandemic. Due to the strained situation, it is important that the employer is aware of the employees' work situation, has a generous attitude and is prepared for dialogues about possible measures or initiatives”.
In work environment related issues, the safety organization works in collaboration with the employer to maintain a good and safe work environment. Risks and consequences of decisions and measures are assessed, and action plans are drawn up. Regarding labor law information related to the pandemic, Saco-S refers to SULF, which is the contact association for the university. You can reach this information via the link: https://sulf.se/fragor-och-svar/ It is of course also important that you continuously observe the information provided by the university - for example on Employees or via email from your boss.
Wage setting - RALS 2019
The salary setting process for 2019 (RALS2019), which in relation to salary criteria was based on performance and responsibility during the period 2018-10-01 - 2019-09-30, was unfortunately not completely completed until the latter part of March 2021. For the just under 30 members who did not accept the employer´s proposal for a new salary, we have in the collective bargaining, despite a generally weak salary situation at the university, not more than on the extreme margin manage to influence these salaries. In the local agreement we finally signed, there is an appendix (Bilaga 2) with a number of joint comments from the parties, which aims to improve the quality of future wage setting processes. In addition, we in the Saco-S association added another appendix (Appendix 3) to protocol, where we highlight some of our own comments as we do not have the same view as the employer. Appendix 3 also contains a short text in which we highlight in a more comprehensive way the problems we have seen in the wage setting process. You can access these two appendices via the following link (in Swedish only):
Excerpt from local agreement RALS 2019 - Bilaga 2 and Bilaga 3
Ahead of the upcoming salary revision
There is now an agreement on an upcoming salary revision. According to this agreement, there will be an increase in salary by a fixed amount for all employees retroactively from 2020-10-01. The next salary revision will then apply from 2021-04-01 to 22-03-31. The employer has begun the first step of the salary-setting conversations, i.e. to highlight the responsibility and performance which you as an employee have contributed during the period 2019-10-01 - 2021-03-31, based on salary policy and salary criteria. Prior to the salary-setting interviews, we ask you to note that we have agreed on a new salary policy and new salary criteria. The new salary policy and the new salary criteria apply to the new salary that will be paid from 1 April 2021 and will, as previously mentioned, be based on performance and responsibility during the period 2019-10-01 - 2021-03-31. The salary criteria in the new salary policy are divided into a general part, a part for teachers / researchers, a part for TA staff and a part for managers. You reach the new salary criteria and other material that is important in connection with the salary setting processes via the following link:
The mentioned agreement differs in some respects from the previous agreement. On the one hand, the agreement does not apply for one year but - as we see it exceptionally - three years (RALS 2020 - RALS 2022), and on the other hand there are certain changes regarding disagreement management which consists of opportunities for a third follow-up conversation as well as certain additional opportunities for those who have repeatedly disagreed with the employer about proposals for a new salary.
The agreement contains a schedule as an appendix, which states at what times your manager is expected to conduct feedback calls to the salary-setting conversation. The manager justifies and gives a proposal for a new salary. If you agree you sign an agreement and your new salary then must be paid no later than the following month. Regardless of how far the wage setting process has advanced at your department /unit, it must be completed no later than June 2021 and May 2022, respectively. For those members who have rejected the employer's proposal for a new salary, collective bargaining begins in connection with payroll audit completed. You can reach the mentioned agreement via the link below (in Swedish only):
For the fifth time, wage-setting talks will be now be conducted for Saco-S members at the university. If you feel that you need support before the salary-setting conversation, you can contact the Saco-S Association's negotiating delegation for salaries. Either contact Jan Andersson (email@example.com), Karina Petersson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gunilla Gunnarsson (email@example.com). You are also welcome to contact us later if you have received a proposal for a new salary, which you are hesitant to say yes to. If you then choose to say no to the employer's proposal for a new salary, it is extra important that you contact one of the above. If you say no to the employer's proposal for a new salary, your salary will be determined in collective bargaining. Before we from the Saco-S association enter into the collective bargaining, it is important that we have information about the most important arguments for you refusing the wage offer, i.e. why you think your salary is wrong. Based on the university's salary policy and salary criteria, we then need to have a good picture of your responsibility and your performance for the time that forms the basis for the salary revision.
At the end of the previous year, the Saco-S association carried out for the fourth time an evaluation of the wage setting process, which in our opinion is an important basis to take with us to the employer before discussions on the upcoming wage revision. An account of results from the evaluation of the previous salary audit (RALS 2019) can be accessed via the following link (in Swedish only):
Results of evaluation RALS 2019
Salaries for doctoral students and hourly employees are usually adjusted from 1 January each year and negotiations for the new salaries that apply from the turn of the year 2020/2021 have not yet begun - preparations for negotiations are underway between the various trade unions.
During the previous year, the employer has formed a “wage council” in order to work more strategically with wage setting. From the Saco-S association's side, we see it as positive that the employer works with wage setting at a more strategic level, but on the other hand we have a very hard time understanding why it is so difficult to influence wage setting at the individual level for individual members, not least when salaries at the higher education institution in relation to other higher education institutions as well as to the surrounding society are so relatively low.
Service plans and Retendo
The local working time agreement at the university states that service plans must be available to the trade unions. Prior to the introduction of Retendo, the Saco-S association had the opportunity to reach service plans and make certain "samples". Today we do not see this as simple - because changes take place in Retendo and we can not easily find an "original" version as a reference. For this reason, among other things, the board of the Saco-S association has internally appointed a working group to shed light on issues concerning duty planning in relation to the local working time agreement. There are several aspects in connection with duty plans that we consider important to highlight. How, for example, does communication take place regarding changes in duty plans? Sometimes we see, for example, a lack of balance in service plans where very large teaching assignments are for a short periods of time. It is not possible to read about the content of the assignment in the duty plans. Is there a large proportion of courses that are already familiar to you - or does it contain a large proportion of new courses that require more preparation? In addition, we have seen on a more general level that what is included in the tasks or teaching assignment increases.
Goal and vision work
The Saco-S association has acted in the work with Vision 2030. Here we have raised the issue of arguing in the work with indicators in Goal 2025 in connection with issues of "sustainable working life" that the university in the future - as several other authorities already do – should work out a staff accounts in order to achieve a more coherent picture of age and salary structure, skills and staffing, promotion and systematic work environment work, health issues, sick leave, etc. We see this as a step for the university to be able to work in the direction towards a sustainable working life, which Saco-S and the Swedish Employers' Agency centrally signed an overall agreement on in October 2017.
The university's activities and results
When we look at the recently published annual report for the higher education institution in 2020, we can state, with support from information on the number of employees and full-time students, that the teaching assignment over a five-year period has increased in terms of the number of students per teaching teacher - from 15 students in 2016 to 17.5 students in 2020. In the annual report, we can also see a slight decrease in student throughput during the same time period. However, this reduction in student throughput was extremely marginal in 2020 - despite the pandemic - which according to the Saco-S association can hardly be explained in any other way than through significant efforts made by our members.
During spring, the Saco-S association will arrange two member meetings - one in Swedish and one in English. We will be back with dates and content for these meetings. We also gratefully appreciate suggestions and views on union issues that SACO-S can work with and act upon.
You are always welcome to share your views. If you have ideas you want to raise with us or if you want to join and work in our union - on the board or as a safety representative – please contact us!
The board of the Saco-S association at Linnaeus University
Jan Andersson and Gunilla Gunnarsson (chairman and vice-chairman, respectively)