If you are a budding PhD or postdoc at the University of Bergen, ready to sign your contract and wonder why you are asked about potential union membership as a part of the onboarding process, this is why:
There are now two collective agreements regulating the pay and salary increases for state employees. The main difference between the two agreements is that the collective agreement for members of NTL and other unions in LO contains an element of guaranteed salary increase decided in central wage negotiations, while the other collective agreement does not.
For 2023, PhDs and postdocs who are members of NTL received a 31 000 NOK increase in salary from these central negotiations. Members of other unions and PhDs and postdocs who are not members of a union will not get any centrally decided salary increase, but will most likely get some level of increase decided by Forskerforbundet, Akademikerne and the employer at each institution. Typically, this will be lower than the increase for NTL members. At UiB, the result of these negotiations in 2022 were a 1,3 % raise, which is 3-4000 NOK lower for a PhD than what you got in NTL in 2022 (10 000 NOK). These results may vary between Higher Education Institutions, and from year to year, but are still indicative of the difference between the two collective agreements.
Being a member of NTL or another union in LO will therefore directly affect your salary increases during your period as a PhD candidate and as a postdoc.
The starting level of salaries for new postdocs and PhDs are the same in both agreements, but each round of wage negotiations – each year on May 1st – will determine the raise you get according to which Collective Agreement you are covered by. If you are not a union member, becoming a member of NTL will guarantee that you get the salary increases we negotiate at the central (state) level.