Our most important bargaining chip

“The more people who respond to Tekna’s salary survey, the more accurate and correct the salary statistics will be. And the more useful the statistics will be as a tool in our salary negotiations. If we can show that the response rate was high, our employer will be more inclined to take the statistics into account,” says the head of the Tekna group at Technip Norge AS, Ines Sulentic.

Having been a Tekna representative since 2013, Ines Sulentic has experience of several rounds of tough bargaining with oil service company Technip Norge AS. “In 2014, 2015 and 2016 we had to accept a zero-rate settlement.” She heads the bargaining on behalf of some 150 Tekna members at the company. “We assist, respond to and pass on information from Tekna and from our own company and give the members an indication of what their position is, so that they can perform their own assessments as a basis for their annual salary reviews with their line managers.”

As representatives she and the other members of the Tekna group committee primarily use the salary statistics in their preparations for the collective bargaining with their employer about a shared fund.

“Thorough preparations are essential. Our employer places most trust in the company’s own statistics. This makes it even more important for us to have our own statistics to hand so that we do not have to blindly trust in our employer’s figures, opinions and narrative,” says Ines Sulentic. She urges all members to respond to the annual survey, which Tekna is in the process of circulating to the members.

Analyses and comparisons

“Here at Technip Norge AS we representatives use Tekna’s salary statistics extensively during our pre-pay bargaining preparations. Once we have compiled information about our members’ salaries we look at differences, bonuses, basic salary and supplements for added responsibilities and expertise. We compile our own spreadsheets and graphs, which we compare with Tekna’s overall salary statistics, and statistics for the industry as a whole.”

“We are frequently confronted by our employer with questions about the accuracy of Tekna’s statistics. If we can show that the response rate is high, the statistics will carry more weight with employers. A high response rate means that our figures are as accurate as they can be – that we know the market value of our members. We often use the statistics to explain why in our view employees deserve a particular pay rise or starting salary.”

The youngest are the most vulnerable

According to Sulentic, it is important to have a reference level for what a person’s salary should be in relation to the year they graduated – particularly in the case of the youngest members, who are the most vulnerable and do not feel comfortable negotiating their own salaries. “This is where it is especially important to us to have access to spreadsheets that allow us to calculate and explain why younger personnel should have a higher rate of salary growth than their older colleagues.”

“By completing the salary questionnaire, you are doing something important for the community of members. The information provided by the survey helps Tekna members to recognise their own market value, both in collective pay bargaining and in individual salary reviews.”

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2018