DIK – redo your homework and get a reality check!

Updated 2009-07-21

I don’t know about the situation outside Sweden, though I guess the situation is more or less the same everywhere, it is hard to get a job at a museum or as an archaeologist; and if you demand a salary way above your limit it does not make it easier. 

At this point the Swedish union; DIK (a union for archaeologist, employees at museums among others) goes out and claims that you should demand an entry pay of 26000 sek or ca 2300 €/ a month (at this date 1€ = ca 11,30 sek) for someone fresh out of a University with a master or equivalent (article in Swedish), a salary I haven’t accomplished after 5 years in this line of work with a master in my bag; My current salary is ca 24000 sek /month, and I’m morte or less pleased with that. I believe this recommendation is close to be considered a fraud and it makes me seriously considering leaving the union. I would guess that a reasonable first pay check in my line of work today is somewhere around 19-21000 sek depending on the employer and the job, at least among those I know.

I honestly believe that if someone without experience just leaving a University or High school demands this payment they’ll be considered a joke by employer and thier application’s cast away. This makes this recommendation a horrific one and those believing in it are truly f**ked by its own union. I recommend DIK to do a serious reality check and redo the homework. I am sure you do good things but this is just outrageous and borders on idiocy. A union should work for its members not be contra productive.

Now this does not mean that I think that there isn’t room for better pay and conditions for archaeologists. As many are badly paid and work on unsecure contract which doesn’t give the possibility to have a consecutive period of vacation etc. I just think that this is the wrong way to start, as I feel that it does not benefit those most vulnerable on the job market, those who does not have experience or are yet to build a network.

I feel that there is much for DIK to work on and I hope they do.

Magnus Reuterdahl

About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

4 responses to “DIK – redo your homework and get a reality check!

  • Martin R

    I left DIK years ago. It’s a librarian and archivist organisation that has been saddled with a tiny group of museum people and field archaeologists that most members don’t give a damn about. If you need a union as an archaeologist, join a generalist one.

    And after all, how could archaeologists accomplish anything by unionising? It’s not as if we would be able to put pressure on employers by going on strike. For everybody who has a job, there are 50 young people eager to work for peanuts.

  • Matti

    Agreed Martin. I happened to end up in SEKO due to a short period of working on the railway, so to say.
    Still there, and they know how things are run and done.
    DIK has one good thing and that is the member papers vacant jobs list.
    The museum part get pretty much coverage in the paper compared to the amount of members, but their idea of enctrance pay is ridiculous! I have not had a permanent job, but after years in the field as a summer season museum guide/teacher, I think the pay I am supposed to get is too much for employers so they don´t even call me for interviews for the seasonal jobs anymore, only for more permanent jobs.

    I think that about 19-20000 would be about what I got with the extra stuff at the last place I worked in 2007.
    26000… If a rookie gets that… Heck, I would be willing to strangle someone… Darth Vader style…

    • Magnus Reuterdahl

      Thanks, I’ll agree with all of you – and as Asa says DIK doesn’t seem to care cares about those with a temporary employment, which includes more or less all archaeologist and most employees at museums, that’s why I agreed to be enlisted to election for DIK earlier this year, though I didn’t get enough votes.

      I’m sure that DIK also does a lot of good work but I don’t feel that it’s good to recommend anyone to demand a much higher salary than what’s reasonable to get, if DIK feels that 26000 is what should be a normal pay than start working on getting those who work that salary first. As someone said at DIKs forum we might not be good enough in demaning a good salary but then again we’re often glad to get jobs at all.

  • ArchAsa

    I also left DIK a few years ago for another union, after I got fed up with them treating anyone without a permanent position (=95% of all archaeologists) as dirt – and even saying so themselves.

    Their “plan” seems to be that by demanding higher pay without ever doing anything remotely practical to back up their members individual claims is a good strategy.

    I come from a line of union acitivists and the way they run the union is an affront to the whole concept. Dump them and look for another union, because its never ever good to be completely without representation, at least on paper.

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