Project activities in Denmark
A flexible labour market needs strong social partners
Report from the workshop on migrant workers in Denmark, Sweden and Norway
Report from the second workshop on migrant workers in Denmark, Sweden and Norway
Final Report from the Danish study
The Danish Labour Market
In most European countries, the labour market is heavily regulated through legislation. This is not the case in Denmark. For more than a hundred years, the Danish labour market has mainly been regulated through collective agreements negotiated between trade unions and employer organizations.
The central aspect of the Danish labou rmarket model is that disputes on wages and working conditions are solved through an institutionalised system of negotiation between the two sides of industry. The labour market is well organised and is characterised by alow level of disputes and stoppages. One of the consequences of the collective agreements based on negotiations is that there is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark.
In Denmark, 82% of the workforce is unionised. The central organisations are LO (which is the central organisation of 18 affiliated unions), FTF (The Confederation of Salaried Employees and Civil Servants in Denmark) and AC (The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). The employers, on their side, are also organised into employer organisations, such as DA (The Danish Employers’ Confederation).
On a national basis, through their work, trade unions seek to improve the conditions that affect their members. Among other things, this is done by means of cooperation with the political parties.
As an employee on the Danish labour market, everyone, regardless of nationality, has the right to an employment contract with information on all relevant employment conditions including; job description, information on working hours, holidays, pay, etc. Furthermore, everyone has the right and access to trade union membership. As part of the employment contract, the employer must indicate which collective agreement or other agreement the employment contract is covered by. Most employees are members of a trade union which attends to their rights and interests vis-à-vis the employer. The trade union negotiates collective agreements on issues such as:
•Working hours and conditions
•Protection in case of dismissal
•Notice of termination
•Rules on maternity/paternity leave
•Rules on shop stewards
The trade unions thus safeguard employee rights and working conditions. Unionised employees have the opportunity of contacting their shop steward or the local trade union branch if problems arise at the workplace. As a general rule, in the case of an actual dispute, the employee should have the right to free legal aid and assistance for solving the dispute in question. For the duration of the transitional period for employees from the new EU-member countries, the residence- and work permit will lapse upon the expiration of the contractor upon dismissal. There is no statutory protection against dismissals. But in the General Agreement concluded between LO and DA, there is a rules tablishing that employers cannot make arbitrary dismissals and that the employee has the right to a written explanation of the grounds for the dismissal if he/she has been employed at the workplace for nine months. This rule applies at all work places. Upon dismissal, the trade union may con-duct litigation in the Dismissals Board on behalf of the employee. The employer must inform the employee of the name of the trade union that provides collective agreement cover for the work place in question. If the workplace is not covered by an agreement, the employee can contact the LO-County, which will be able to refer the employee to his/her relevant local union branch. In addition to this, the national level trade unions can be of help.
The Economic Council of the Labour Movement
The Economic Council of the Labour Movement (ECLM) is a Danish economic policy institute and think-tank working to promote social justice in Denmark.
Website of ECLM