Under the congress theme “Stronger Together” Fellesforbundet, BWI’s affiliate in Norway held its 8th Quadrennial Congress from 11-16 November in Oslo, Norway. At this Congress, the Norwegian Transport Workers Union (NTF) joined Fellesforbundet, further increasing the strength and power of the largest private sector union in Norway.
With 545 delegates representing workers in more than 200 trades and occupations and 200 guests including many BWI affiliates, the Congress Hall was fully packed and lively as evident by the more than 163 interventions and contributions made by delegates and guests.
The Congress was opened by key-note speakers included Fellesforbundet President, Jørn Eggum, LO President Hans Christian Gabrielsen, and IndustriALL European Trade Union General Secretary, Luc Triangle. In the following days other guest speakers included Jonas Gahr Store, President of the Social Democratic Party.
On the third day of the Congress which included international issues, a video showing BWI’s campaign in Qatar in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup was shown. In particular the participation of Fellesforbundet OHS inspectors of the BWI-Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Joint OHS inspections and BWI’s outreach and organizing efforts in Qatar to improve the working and living conditions of migrant workers with the support of Fellesforbundet and LO was featured.
The following are the key conclusions of the Congress on the various debates and discussions that took place throughout the week, sometime into the wee hours of the night.
EEA agreement: The congress demands an official assessment of the current agreement.
Wind power: The congress is not in disfavor of wind power as such, but, warns against installing turbines in areas with extensive conflict regarding local resources and environmental issues.
Staffing agencies: Fellesforbundet aims at termination of the current practice of staffing agencies, striving for stronger official responsibility when it comes to providing jobs.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS): The congress sees CCS as a requirement in order to reach the climate goals of the Paris agreement.
Toll roads: The excessive use of toll roads negatively affects many of our members. The congress demands more state funding of building roads and an assessment of alternative financial models with a more social profile.
Continuing and further education: The congress sees the need for a powerful reformation of continuing and further education for all, not only for a few.
Pension: It is currently very difficult for employees to keep track of their employer's pension payments. The congress demands that these payments are included on the paycheck.
Work assessment allowance (AAP): The congress wants to increase the period of receiving work assessment allowance to at least four years, until the system of assessment has been optimized.
Palestine: The congress demands that the Norwegian government recognizes Palestine as an independent country.
The Executive council was extended with eight members due to merger of NTF. The delegates re-elected the entire leadership which are as follows:
Jørn Eggum, President
Steinar Krogstad, Vice President (Construction)
Clas Delp, National secretary (Hotel and Restaurants and Organisation)
Kine Asper, National secretary (Metal Industry and Aquaculture)
Per Skau, National secretary (Construction and Air Transport)
Knut Øygard, National secretary (Collective bargaining and Graphic)
Hege Skulstad Espe, National secretary (Equality and Building industry)
Dag-Einar Sivertsen, National secretary (Transport)