25 August, 2023IndustriALL and Norwegian portfolio company Aker ASA renewed their global framework agreement in Oslo on 24 August, extending the company’s responsibility for its workers along the supply chain.
The ambitious global framework agreement (GFA) contains provisions on fundamental human and trade union rights and references international standards for health and safety, living wages, a just transition, equality and diversity, environmental issues, working hours and employment conditions.
The renewed agreement was approved at a global works council (GWC) meeting on 25 May 2023, after consultation with IndustriALL affiliates. The GFA includes stronger language on the requirements of companies in the Aker supply chain, and builds on previous agreements, with the first GFA signed in 2008 and renewed in 2010 and 2013.
Says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie:
“This is an ambitious and forward-looking agreement addressing key areas for a decent and sustainable workplace. The new agreement sets a standard for GFAs and social dialogue and the genuine approach from management is exemplary.”
After its meeting in May, the global works council visited the Rose Castle installation in Oslo that commemorates the Nazi occupation of Norway. In a moving speech to announce his retirement, outgoing convenor Atle Tranøy spoke of the requirement of every generation to defend democracy, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine and the rise of authoritarian politics. He said that social dialogue, and agreements like the Aker GFA, are the building blocks that create a good society.
Tranøy presided over the GFA from its first days and was instrumental in the renegotiation.
A mechanism for conflict resolution clearly establishes Aker’s responsibility to use its influence to ensure respect for trade union rights along the supply chain. The agreement is monitored by the GWC, and any worker within the Aker ecosystem can directly contact the union convenor if they believe it is being breeched.
Stressing the importance of social dialogue, Aker CEO Øyvind Eriksen says:
“The agreement is an important part of Aker’s work on sustainability and responsible corporate governance and provides all employees with an important tool to ensure that Aker-owned companies live up to their commitments and our ambitions.”
IndustriALL Norwegian affiliates Fellesforbundet, NITO and Tekna are co-signatures to the GFA.
Ståle Johansen, union representative on Aker’s management board, says:
“I am pleased that with this updated and strengthened agreement, Aker recognizes and commits to fundamental trade union rights and good working conditions across its global operations."
The renewal brings the agreement into line with industrial relations best practice by updating the number of ILO instruments referenced after health and safety become core Conventions, updating policy around gender equity and the need to eliminate gender-based violence through ILO C 190, and a new commitment to just transition.
Aker has a diverse portfolio, including shipbuilding and marine equipment, software and renewable energy. Aker has recently moved into renewal energy after acquiring Irish company Mainstream, and the GWC will focus on improving union representation at Mainstream’s global operations.
Photo: Elisabeth Haugsbø, TEKNA president, Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary, Øyvind Eriksen, Aker CEO, Christian Justnes, Fellesforbundet union secretary, Audun Bøhn, NITO deputy general secretary.