Union victory in Norway!

The BWI-affiliated Norwegian Elevator Constructors’ Union (HMF) emerged victorious against Schindler, a Swiss multinational company which manufactures escalators, moving walkways, and elevators worldwide. 

The union said that the company withdrew all its attempts to undermine the rights of its members, including the reinstatement of its Vice-President, Alexander Jordnes. 

“This is a complete victory for our union,” HMF President Markus Hansen said.

Hansen said that solidarity and support from both the international and domestic levels pressured the company to give in to the union’s just demands. “The pressure on the company resulted in its customers choosing other companies instead. Several of its best elevator constructors have also left the company and started working with its competitors in protest of the bad treatment of its shop stewards,” he explained. 

Hansen said that it was a challenging new experience for the union to lead the campaign amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We strengthened our union by rethinking our strategy several times over and maximising the opportunities offered by different social media platforms to communicate with one another. Even with the pandemic, we proved that the labour movement cannot be stopped. Unions will always prevail if we stand together,” Hansen said. 

On November of last year, HMF’s vice president was summarily dismissed by the company after its members refused to use a software application without prior consultations. 

As a response, BWI issued an action alert to its affiliates worldwide to protest the company’s union-busting activities. It said that the company violated international labour standards long recognised by Norway, particularly International Labour Convention (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.