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Who regulates pay and work in Denmark?

The Danish labour market model 

The traditions of the Danish agreement system date back more than 100 years. Ever since The Danish Labour Market Model has been based on a division of labour between the government/the parliament and the labour market parties (employers and employees). 

The Danish Labour Market Model is unique because the labour market parties have great influence on employment policy, wages and working conditions. New bills regarding conditions on the labour market are also sent for consultation to the parties before the government/the parliament adopts them. 

The Danish Labour Market Model is based on agreements instead of legislation. The government/the parliament intervenes as little as possible in the labour market relations as long as the labour market parties are able to solve problems themselves in a responsible manner. 

Ordinary workers in alliance with their trade union can actually implement their wishes and expectations in the workplace. By standing together they can fight for and improve their working conditions and the relationship with the employers. The Danish Labour Market Model is based on mutual respect between the conflicting parties and willingness to solve disagreements through compromise. 

Collective agreements

Collective agreements are voluntary agreements between employers and employees. The two labour market parties agree on the labour market rules used for the regulation of wages, working conditions and other rights in the workplace. 

Every second or third year the unions and the employer organizations re-negotiate the collective agreements. When the negotiations are finished all union members has to vote for or against the new agreement. In that sense it is up to the members to decide if the agreement is good enough. Is the majority votes no to the new agreement, all the workers go and strike. 

A collective agreement is important for you!

If there is no collective agreement in your workplace - there are no rules regarding your minimum wage, pension, working hours, overtime, termination notice, sick leave rights, Holiday rights, etc. Without a collective agreement, you are legally vulnerable.

Collective bargaining is more effective as labour market parties can adjust the collective agreement contitions to each sector and individual enterprise faster and better than the government/the parliament can. The parties are also more willing to accept the terms that they have established themselves. 

Trade unions play a key role on the Danish labour market as they represent the interests of workers on the labour market regarding the set up and renewal of collective agreements with an employer. However, for the effective functioning of the Danish collective bargaining system, it is obviously important that there is a high level of organization. 

Approximately 80% of the Danish employees are members of a trade union. It is important to remember that the more members a union has, the better working conditions it can achieve for its members.

Remember, you can always contact the union and ask if a company has a collective agreement. Is there no collective agreement on your workplace? Contact the union - they can help you fight to get it. 

Support the Danish Labour Market Model in order to secure your own conditions! 

The more people deciding to stand outside, the more of your rights disappear and the greater the risk of a more controlled regulation with a higher degree of legislation, as it is prevalent in many other countries. That means that employees will lose the actual political influence and the opportunity to influence their employers and improve the working conditions in their workplace as well as to get a higher salary or to secure a job for the future.

The Danish Labour Market Model proves that as long as employees keep together in a trade union - they are strong and powerful. They must not be afraid to be exploited, mistreated, fired without a reasonable reason, etc. A trade union without you is like a football team without defenders. It becomes weaker in relation to the employers’ organizations, so it becomes more difficult to negotiate good deals. That applies to you too. Remember - if you are working without a collective agreement, you will be replaced as soon as there comes another employee who agrees to work longer hours for lower pay. 

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