Union representatives and job satisfaction representatives
On workplaces with three or more employees, the employees can elect union representatives to represent the employees. Union representatives must be notified about any changes in the work place. The union representative is part of a union representative initiative, and they are given special protection against termination.
On workplaces with more than 20 employees, a work satisfaction representative may also be elected.
The Faroese Worker’s Union strives to put all its union representatives through a union representative and committee member education.
The purpose of the union representative and job satisfaction representative initiative is to create safety, satisfaction and development on the work place, and to further develop social togetherness and to boost employee and management’s interest in the tasks ahead.
The main purpose of the union representative initiative is to give the members of the Faroese Workers’ Union representatives that:
Represent the workers in matters against the employer
Work for a good working environment
Monitor that the employer follows the agreement and law
Have the necessary information regarding events that are in the future and which may have an effect on the working environment.
Concerning matters of safety and health, please see the current work environment law.
The employers must make sure that
The working circumstances are organised in such a manner as to give least possible danger of stress among the workers
That measures are taken to ensure a healthy cooperation between management and workers and between the workers.
That bullying does not take place in the work place.
That any complaints concerning matters of health and satisfaction are heard immediately and treated by management, union representative and safety representative.
That necessary measures be taken in order to improve conditions if the circumstances mentioned above are not in order
That satisfaction representatives are given time in the daily work schedule to plan social events without any deduction in their wage, however, in a manner that has the least possible effect on their work. These events may also be outside the workplace.
What rights and requirements are there for the union representatives?
The union representative has the right to get time off in order to perform his duties as union representative. The union representative’s duties must be performed in such a manner as to cause the least possible interference to production. Management must be notified about the absence as soon as possible. In this case, and when management summons the union representative concerning matters pertaining to workers or working environment, the union representative must be remunerated for the time away from work.
Term of notice for union representatives is fixed in accordance with the contract under which the person is hired. In addition, the union representative receives an extra month’s wage. Grounds must be given for the termination, which can only be made under necessary circumstances. If the reason for the termination is lack of work, then the same conditions apply to the union representative as they do to the rest of the workers.
What about the working environment if I am injured at work?
The Faroese work market is organised with agreements, laws and regulations. The work market has rights concerning working environment, work injuries, disease, unemployment, holiday pay and maternity/ paternity leave.
The law concerning working environment dictates that you have the right to a safe and healthy working environment. If you become the victim of a working accident, you must make sure that the employer reports the accident to The Faroese Working Environment Service, which will investigate whether the rules in the working environment law are obeyed.
All workers are insured against working injuries. If you are the victim of a working accident on the workplace, then it is very important that you make sure that the incident is notified to the Faroese non-life insurance council (Føroya Vanlukkutryggingarráð) within one year. The insurance is not valid if the notification is sent to the council more than one year after the accident. The Faroese non-life insurance council determines if the insurance covers the injury.
If a wage earner who has been with the same employer for more than 9 consecutive months becomes unfit for work because of a work injury, which is verified by a doctor’s certificate, then the worker cannot be fired before 5 months have passed since the injury occurred. This is only valid, however until the wage earner is fit for work again.
Please contact the union and it can help and advise you if you have been in a work accident. Through the years, the Faroese Workers’ Union has helped a great number of members that have been in accidents at work, and it has helped them get thousands of kroner in compensation.
What is an occupational disease and what are my rights?
The Faroese Workers’ Union has helped members receive compensation for occupational diseases.
An occupational disease is a disease or disorder, which is caused by the work or the working environment. You can work in bad conditions for a long time before you become aware of the health implications this has on you. Occupational disease can be hearing damage, back problems, lifting damage, etc. Sailors, workers in fish factories, cleaning personnel and others that have physically hard labour often end up with an occupational disease.
An occupational disease is not the same as a work injury, which is an accident that happens in the workplace. An occupational disease often comes more gradually. If you are in doubt whether you are suffering from an occupational disease, then you can contact the union or the occupational disease fund – see also www.vsg.fo.
Do we need a safety representative on the workplace?
All workplaces where 10 or more people work must elect a safety representative whose duty it is to represent the workers. If the workplace has more than 20 employees, a safety committee must be established. The safety representative, just like the union representative, receives special protection against termination. See more information in the law concerning working environment, in addition to contacting The Faroese Working Environment Service, see www.arb.fo