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Who is the Federation of Oil Workers' Trade Unions (SAFE)?
• SAFE is the leading union for North Sea workers in the petroleum industry
• SAFE is lead by oil workers that have first hand knowledge of the working conditions on the shelf
• SAFE is independent and does not depend on any single political party
• SAFE is a member of the Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS)
SAFE builds on the experience it has acquired through the years since 1977. A large and well functioning organisation with a staff consisting of ten people takes care of the day-to-day operation of the organisation. These take care of our 5 500 members.
SAFE has broken new ground when it comes to the working environment, wages and terms of work offshore. SAFE was among those pushing hard to make the Worker Protection and Working Environment Act apply for the Norwegian offshore oil industry, and thereby introducing safety and health services with full time safety deputies. SAFE also went in the lead in the struggle for a pension age at 65 for those working offshore. At the same time an intermediate support was established for those that lose their Health Certificate. The first general collective agreement and the first specific collective agreement for offshore were initiated by SAFE. We also achieved good compensations for discomfort, such as: shift bonus, alarm bonus, public holiday compensation during courses and shift changes. In addition we achieved rights concerning vocational training and adult education. Enterprise democracy and enterprise committees in the oil companies, introduction of self-certification when sick, extended maternity leave and the right to welfare leave are also results of the efforts of SAFE.
We are continually working to come into contact with new groups within the petroleum industry and initiate new collective agreements. Our goal is to organise all those working in the oil industry both on land and offshore. In the SAFE, we search to understand the whole situation and to develop our understanding collectively.
What does SAFE stand for?
SAFE is a community made by and for members of local unions in the petroleum industry or in other areas that seem natural.
SAFE co-ordinates and pursues the interests of its members when it comes to economic,
environmental, social, cultural and professional issues.
SAFE works to secure its members real influence in relationship to employers and authorities in areas such as health, environment and security, occupational education, economic, social and cultural areas.
SAFE protects and develops democratic rights, such as the right to organise and the right to
Which groups does SAFE organise?
Today SAFE has attained good local and general agreements for employees within most areas in the oil industry. SAFE organises employees in companies within areas like:
• Well services
• Construction and maintenance Shipping
What do you get in return for your membership?
• You become a member of the oil workers' own organisation.
• You get direct influence over the development of your wages and social conditions.
• You get necessary judicial help in connection with your employment conditions.
• SAFE organises conferences and courses regularly.
• The members' magazine OFSA is automatically sent to your home address.
You become a member of the oil workers' own organisation
It's the members that steer the organisation, and SAFE describes itself as a "grassroots organisation". Even though the central board and the executive committee have the day-to-day leadership, the members have the highest authority in the organisation through the general referendum. The second highest authority is the Congress that elects the leadership of the organisation, points out areas of priority and revises the laws and goals of the SAFE.
In the workplace the local unions and the deputies have responsibility to take care of the members' interests. These partake in courses, seminars and meetings on a need to know basis. Our goal is that all SAFE deputies shall be well informed and updated in all areas of the organisation.
You get direct influence over the development of your wages and social conditions
SAFE calls on the local unions, deputies and all members to hold meetings locally and discuss the coming wage negotiations, and to make suggestions for the development of the collective agreement.
A general conference on the collective negotiations is held with representatives from all the local unions. The various parts of the organisation get to know each other better in this way, and get a better insight into the issues for the various areas concerning the collective agreement. This strengthens the unity of the organisation. The meetings make priorities of the demands and convey these to the central board for endorsement. All local unions are also represented in the negotiating committee, which in turn decides which standpoint the OFS shall take to the result of the negotiations. The central board decides if a strike is called or not. Through active participation the members have large possibilities to influence the development of the collective agreements.
You get necessary judicial help in connection with your employment conditions
A Supreme Court Lawyer and a lawyer are employed by SAFE at the main office. They are continually working with cases that arise from disputes concerning employment conditions. Areas they deal with are for example:
• lay offs
• industrial injuries
• labour disputes
To get assistance is generally faster in SAFE than elsewhere, and we stand ready even when the cases are difficult.
You can get a good insurance offer - the SAFE/YS insurance policies
The insurance offers are voluntary, no insurance policies are included in the membership fee of SAFE.
The insurance policies have special rules for foreign citizens residing in Norway. For more information contact the person responsible for insurance at the SAFE head office, or you can call Gjensidige,
telephone 815 00 110
As a member of SAFE you have access to the bank- and insurance-agreement and those offers that have been negotiated between YS and Gjensidige.
You can get:
YS Group Life insurance
The insurance money is paid to the bereaved. Your partner can also be insured.
YS Family Accident insurance
Accident and disability insurance for you and your family.
YS Furniture insurance
You can insure up to 1.5 million at a low cost.
You can insure up to 1.5 million at a low cost.
YS Travel insurance
Said to be one of the best in the market.
Special rules apply for foreign citizens residing in Norway. Please contact SAFE for further information. Dial SAFE telephone 51 84 39 00.
YS co-operates with Gjensidige in offering you an account that gives you good interest on your savings and the possibility of a loan. Do you want more information?
Dial telephone 815 00 073
YS Car and House loa
Also for these offers, special rules apply for foreign citizens residing in Norway. Please contact SAFE for further information. Dial SAFE telephone 51 84 39 00.
If you have any questions or want more information, you can call 815 00 073.
The membership of SAFE in YS
The goal of SAFE is to organise all oil workers. To attain that goal, SAFE joined YS in the spring of 1997. SAFE then became a part of a larger community and strengthened its chances of becoming a part of collective agreements both offshore and onshore. The total membership of YS is app. 230 000 members.
YS was founded in 1977 and has 21 different national unions. These 21 unions are in four sections. SAFE is in the YS-Private section.
YS and SAFE follow the same principle: That it is important to be neutral as to party politics.
Both organisations are therefore politically independent, but not politically neutral.
The decisive reason for our choice was that YS is built up of independent unions that can decide their own development.
Youth work in YS
All work towards young people by YS is done under the umbrella of YS Young.
The pupil, student and trainee forum is a general membership offer for young people in education. To enhance the awareness of youth concerning their rights in the workplace is the main question. In this way YS Youth helps to alleviate the transition from a life in education to a life at work.
Each year YS Ung arranges a youth conference - YngSt. The purpose of these conferences is to gather (young) deputies and employees from the YS-unions to a different sort of conference where matters concerning the young are discussed, and also to make a foundation for a strong YS community.
YS Young also has a lot of activities for fun, to motivate the young to continue or start with union work. YS Young also co-operates with student and pupil's organisations.
Additionally YS Youth also co-operates with the national organisation for lesbian and gay liberation (LLH), and the resource centre for immigrant women (The MIRA - centre).
International contacts of OFS
SAFE has contact with the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) in Great Britain.
This is an organisation of oil workers outside the British TUC. OILC and SAFE resemble each other in many ways, as they are independent organisations strongly attached to the grassroots. SAFE has a close co-operation with OILC, which we hope will be even stronger and closer in the future.
SAFE is a member of the world-wide union confederation, International Energy and Miners' Organisation (IEMO). IEMO is recognised by the United Nations as a
so-called Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). IEMO is engaged in the struggle against mass unemployment, the globalisation of the world economy and the anti-union laws that are spreading in an increasingly number of countries. The organisation bases much of its work on judicial help, exchanging experiences and developing solidarity, especially with the Third World. As a recognised NGO, IEMO has the right to participate at the meetings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This makes it possible for SAFE to participate annually at ILO's Work Conferences. SAfe uses its participation in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to focus on union rights and questions concerning the working environment in Norway.
The French organisation Fédération Nationale Des Industries Chimiques (CGT) has approximately 800 000 members, and is one of the strongest French unions. It organises workers within the whole energy sector, and is the largest organisation in IEMO. As its members receive and distribute Norwegian gas, co-operation is a natural thing.
Which matters does SAFE work with?
Wages and working conditions
Wages and working conditions have developed very differently between the different occupations in the oil industry. SAFE does not accept this at it leads to an A and B-team among the workers offshore. SAFE wishes to take the whole into account and has as a goal that employees of the oil companies operating the fields shall handle all goods and services that a field depends on during its life span. We must not continue developing an industry where the oil companies make profits from a competition where our wages and working conditions are important competing elements. If we don't stop this development, we will get a negative spiral of social dumping, which means that any kind of work, at any price is moved to any workplace anywhere! Well-being, security and quality are the opposites of social dumping. The use of hired workers and contractor companies is a huge problem for quality and security offshore. The employees of these companies are moved from working place to working place, to do a small part of a job. They do not know the whole chain of work or the end result. Neither will these employees have time to become acquainted with the professional environment nor become a part of the social community at the work place.
Steady employment for all the various functions is a task with high priority.
Health, environment and security have always been high on the priority list
Health, environment and security have always have always been central to SAFE through its whole history.. No other unions, neither in the North Sea nor on land have had a greater focus on health, environment and security, than SAFE. SAFE has also been the most active union in forwarding the interests of the employees when it comes to the development of rules and regulations. SAFE has put the question of crimes against the working environment in focus. Our struggle against isocyanates is one of the issues we have worked with for a better working environment. We continue the struggle, and if necessary we will bring it into the international arena. SAFE has been the leading union in making the problems connected with shift and night work visible. Problems connected with ageing, especially those related to security and the pension age have been focused on for more than 20 years. Throughout the years, SAFE has lead the way in the struggle for a predictable, flexible pension system from 57 to 62 years old, in the North Sea. To win this struggle, we depend on you taking responsibility, becoming a member and supporting us in our work.
This is the way SAFE is built
• Referendum (the highest authority, all members vote)
• Congress (is held according to rules with elected delegates from all local unions)
• Executive Committee (consists of elected officials)
• SAFE administration
• Individual membership
• Local unions
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