Tensions may be easing between restaurant and union

Coffee and cake diplomacy scheduled for today. Meanwhile, upstart union’s leader extends olive branch to critic

Poul Erik Christensen, the president of trade union 3F, is due to meet with Amin Skov, the owner of Restaurant Vejlegården, to begin working out a resolution to the six-month labour dispute.

Problems between the restaurant and the union began in March when Skov, who took over the restaurant in November, annulled his collective bargaining agreement with 3F and instead signed one with Krifa, an independent union.

The meeting between the two men is scheduled to take place at the restaurant today. Skov said he will provide coffee and cake but is keeping his expectations low so as not to be disappointed.

“I have absolutely no idea what will happen,” he told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Skov said that no matter the outcome, he is looking forward to the meeting and is appreciative to Christensen for reaching out.

“We have tried to get a dialogue going for some time,” said Skov. “Let’s hope the rhetoric has changed and we see a new 3F.”

Søren Fibiger Olesen, Krifa’s chairman, said that in light of the meeting he has now invited the 3F president to sit down with him and begin the process of working out the differences between the two unions.

“Christensen has shown a willingness to talk by meeting with Amin Skov, but their meeting will be specifically about finding a solution to the blockade at Restaurant Vejlegården,” said Olesen. “I want to talk with Christensen about 3F’s policy of using blockades in general.”

Krifa and 3F are currently locked in labour disputes at over 20 companies, and Olesen said he would like to see the two unions to begin to work together so that as many employees as possible are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

He admitted that recent reports indicating that Krifa members made less that those that worked under 3F agreements did not look good for his union.

A comparison of the two agreements revealed that all employees at Restaurant Vejlegården were earning 110.50 kroner per hour under their Krifa agreement. Under the restaurant’s old deal with 3F, trained waiters made 139.50 kroner per hour and trained chefs 125 kroner per hour.

“We should have made the agreement so that skilled workers earned a better salary than unskilled” Olesen told news website avisen.dk. “It was a mistake.”

Olesen said that trained staff at other restaurants whose employees were covered by a collective bargaining agreement with Krifa did earn more than their 3F counterparts.

Olesen said that Krifa would be looking at all of their agreements to make sure that they offered what he called “multiple minimum wages” so that trained workers could earn more and that employees had the chance to renegotiate their deals annually based on education or training they may have received during the year.