Thursday, August 2, 2018

Norwegian Elevator Workers Strike Victory

Facts For Working People had previously joined the international support and campaign in response to the call for solidarity from the Norwegian Elevator Constructors Union. We share the fruits of the support with our readers. Thanks to Jimmy Kelly for sharing.

This is a battle that was assisted to victory by international solidarity of official Trades Unions. 

From: Markus Hansen <>

Subject: We won the fight for the collective agreement at Orona Norway!

Dear Brothers and Sisters

After 8 weeks of strike action we have now prevailed in all of our demands. The 19 elevator mechanics have now returned to their jobs with their head held high and proud as ever. Orona is Europe´s 5th biggest elevator company, and have the biggest production capacity of all elevator companies in Europe. Orona came to Norway in 2013 and have since bought 7 companies to further expand in Norway.

Background: We decided to go on strike the 14th of May, when the Orona management refused to sign the National Agreement for Elevator Mechanics in Norway. It is the same agreement that Schindler, Thyssen, Kone and Otis already had agreed upon. (Orona was the last and only  international company in Norway that hadn´t agreed on this agreement. Also two years ago there was no one in the union as well). We also had several additional demands in addition to the collective agreement to be accepted before we would go back to work. 

The other demands was among other things; a plan to educate all personell as skilled elevator mechanics at Orona, and an own agreement regulating the use of temporary hired personell and subcontractors. For many years we had feared that Orona exploited the use of cheap, foreign labour - and this was one of the trigger points to get organised, unionised and to start the strike. To make sure that all personell gets paid the same salary no matter what country you come from was a key factor. I believe that the foreign, temporary personell was paid such less salary than a permanent hired mechanic - that this spesific demand was perhaps the most difficult one for Orona to accept. Orona have now accepted to not use subcontractors in the future, but instead use temporary labor, paid equally as permanently hired labor.

I am very happy that Orona´s management agreed upon the demands. And I hope this could trigger more workers from Orona to take the fight for collective rights in their respective countries. I have learned that this collective agreement at Orona is maybe one of the first agreements in the world at this company, lets hope there will be several more in the years to come. I would also like to wish Orona the very best in getting back into full production again as they have suffered a lot during the last two months. Hopefully this would attract more elevator mechanics to start working for Orona in the future as well.

Those 19 elevator mechanics have received a lot of support in their struggle at Orona, especially from all around the world, from you. I would like to personally thank you all for sending words of support, videos, pictures and much more. It has inspired us all and reminded us to never give up in our fight. Maybe the Orona management realised that in the end - the workers would never give up, and they had the support and strength from the elevator mechanics from the whole world.

This shows that there is strength in union, and the struggle will now continue to organise all workers and claim collective agreements everywhere in the world. The fight continues.

Attached you find the picture of the young shop stewards of the union at Orona (Kristoffer and Lars-Goran), holding the agreement they had just done with the Orona management after 13 hours of negotiations.

Sincerely, gratefully and in solidarity

Markus Hansen
Norwegian Elevator Constructors Union.

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