Why join a union in Norway?
In Scandinavia and especially in Norway unions are quite different from what they are in the rest of the world. For a PhD candidate they represent a security net that can help in case you have questions or get into trouble. The union representatives can answer questions about contracts, working conditions, working environment and salaries, only to mention a few. Some unions also organize networking events and courses for their members. If you as a PhD student get into a conflict with your supervisor or any of your coworkers, or have questions about your rights as an employee, the unions will be able to guide you and help you find a solution/answer. The union representatives know the university, the laws and regulations and where to go with what kind of questions. They work as a knowledge hub for their members. A representative from a union has the right to join you in meetings if you need someone to support you (in the case of a conflict). Unions can also provide legal support for their members if needed.
Unions in Norway are independent organizations. The employees can freely choose if they want to be a member of a union, and if so which union to join. Unions in Norway have a close collaboration with the leadership at the institutions and companies and play an important role in negotiations of salaries and working conditions. Local union representatives in Norway are chosen by the members at an annual meeting in the local union group. All members of the particular union have access to these meetings. More information about membership benefits can be found at the individual union’s webpages.
Which union should I chose?
There are several good options to select between, we will simply advice you to visit some of the different organizations listed here.
Is it safe to join a union?
It is very common and completely safe to join a union in Norway. In fact we strongly advise you to register in a union.
Is it expensive to join a union?
Most unions have special offers for PhDs/students. This makes it very affordable on a PhD salary. Union fees up to 3850,- NOK per year can be deducted from your taxes.