Thursday, May 26

Up to 75 lose their jobs – but no one knows who

In November, it became clear that Coop Norge would cut 200-220 man-years at local warehouses in Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger and Tromsø.

It has been announced that between 65 and 75 man-years in Trondheim will disappear.

The only problem is that the employees at the warehouses will probably not know who will lose their jobs until the summer.

For the employees, the uncertainty leads to frustration.

– It goes on the psyche. This is my future we are talking about. Do I have a job, or do I not, asks employee Jonack Ali (34) at the Coop warehouse in Trondheim.

– We live with great uncertainty, says employee Xahir Kedir (29).

Burdensome waiting time

Jonak Ali says that the lack of information about who loses the job leads to great dissatisfaction. This affects work motivation and the work environment, he says.

Employees have to deal with eight months of uncertainty before they know who will lose their job at the warehouse.

Ali says it is stressful to have to wait so long before he finds out if he loses his job.

– If I do not have a job, they have to say so early, so I get out in search rounds for other jobs, he says.

Coop warehouse

At the Coop warehouse in Trondheim, 65-70 man-years will be cut.

Photo: Bent Lindsetmo / NRK

Little information

Kjell-Arve Aspaas is a shop steward at the warehouse in Trondheim, and says that the vast majority of employees share the frustration of Kedir and Ali.

– There is a craving for information. The uncertainty and dissatisfaction spreads, and then there is no work ethic either, says Aspaas.

– How do you think the flow of information between management and employees has been so far?

– It has been far too bad, and not only for employees – but also shop stewards, says Aspaas.

He believes it is unsustainable that employees have to wait until the summer to find out who will lose their job.

Aspaas expects the management to now come on the field and provide final information as soon as possible.

– It goes on the psyche of the employees and it is a burden for them to be in this situation until the summer, he says.

Positions are given to others

At the same time as Coop is cutting positions at local warehouses, they are filling up with around 100 new positions at the main warehouse at Gardermoen.

Those who lose their jobs will have priority in these positions, Coop has previously stated.

According to Ali, Kedir and Aspaas, this does not correspond to reality.

Coop has centrally started hiring external candidates for the positions, which employees were originally supposed to have had a preferential right to.

– It also affects the psyche in the whole thing, says Ali.

It is confirmed by Coop Norge that they have recruited external applicants for several of the positions.

Critical to ability testing

Trade union representative Aspaas says that all employees who are to apply for a job at the main warehouse at Gardermoen must pass an IQ test, or a so-called ability test.

He believes that the failure rate on this ability test is far too high, in addition to the fact that those who complete do not get good enough feedback on what they passed.

Aspaas is skeptical about the use of the IQ test – both because it should be unnecessary for employees who already work at a Coop warehouse to go through this, but also because shop stewards do not have access to the test itself and its assessment criteria.

– We put a big question mark on what is really the reason for this ability test, he says.

Kjell Aspaas

Aspaas is skeptical of the IQ test that employees applying for jobs at the main warehouse must undergo – especially since he does not have access to the assessment criteria.

Photo: Marthe Svendsen / NRK

Does not recognize himself in the criticism

Coop Norge does not want to be interviewed, but answers the questions in writing.

Harald Kristiansen is communications manager for Coop Norge and does not understand the criticism from the employees and shop stewards.

– We do not recognize ourselves in the criticism, says Kristiansen.

The head of communications says that the downsizing process is time-consuming, but that the management has chosen to be open all the way – both with shop stewards and employees.

Kristiansen will not promise that the management can give a final answer before the summer. This is because it is now being mapped who wants to use end packages and who will apply for a job at the main warehouse.

– During the pandemic, the volume at the warehouse has also increased and Coop is taking market shares, which in turn means that as of today it has not been set in stone how large the downsizing will be, says Kristiansen and adds that no more than 75 man-years will be cut at the warehouse in Trondheim.

Ability test for other tasks

Kristiansen confirms that Coop has started recruiting external employees for the main warehouse. He believes that this does not prevent own employees with sufficient qualifications from getting a job.

– This is not a breach of promise, and we will have to recruit externally in addition to fill all the positions, he says.

He calls the test the employees have to go through to get a job for an ability test. He justifies the test with the fact that the main warehouse at Gardermoen is fully automatic and that being an operating operator there places completely different demands on employees than the current work tasks.

He also claims that no one fails the aptitude test, and can therefore not state any failure rate.

– Why do shop stewards not have access to the IQ test and its assessment basis?

– Standard internationally recognized tests are used, and employees can see the assessment after the test has been completed. Detailed figures are reviewed with shop stewards, Kristiansen answers.

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