The sharing economy represents a challenge to the labour market as we know it. In the face of this development, the Swedish trade union Unionen has just entered an agreement with German IG Metall. The aim is to find tools for how to organise the growing part of the labour force which works through online platforms.
The core idea of labour law is to protect the weaker party in an employment relation. This is increasingly under attack from market-led thinking where the main aim is to create opportunities for everyone to get a job. This might sound good, but it could lead to a worsening of conditions for both those who have managed to get a foot in the door of the regulated labour market and for those who are knocking, waiting to get in.
The new way of organising the selling of services can be confusing, and so too the accompanying terminology. Here is a short glossary for the most common expressions.
The sharing economy, where customers use the Internet to find providers of different services without using physical middlemen, is also a threat to the Nordic model which builds on collective agreements. Employers and employees are forming non-contract relationships within a growing number of trades. If there is a contract, it mostly states that the partners cannot be considered to be employer or employee.
Many young workers in the Nordic countries live dangerously in the workplace, according to a new Nordic report. The risk for physical injury as well as psychological ill health is considerably higher among young workers compared to older ones.
Employees should be whistling when they go to work and when they go home again. That is the ambition at the Center for Social Indsats (Centre for Social Measures) – a municipal workplace employing 275 people on the Danish island of Lolland. And there are many reasons to whistle contently: their psychological working environment has been named the best in Denmark.
A newly formed group of consultants will be helping municipalities improve employees’ psychological working environments. There is great interest in getting support.
There has been a strong increase in work-related psychological ill health in Sweden in recent years. People working in the health, education and care sector are particularly exposed. But this is not only a Swedish phenomenon. The same development can be found in all developed economies, and hardest hit are women and youths.
There is a lot of talk about burnout in the workplace. But there is not much serious debate about being bored at work. Yet these repetitive, grey days can dramatically influence work capacity and efficiency.
The Norwegian municipality of Songdalen went against the grain in order to cut the level of sick leave. They concentrated on attendance instead of absence, and used the staff’s own knowledge about their working environment with great success.
Many types of voluntary organisations played an important role when Sweden received a record number of refugees last autumn. There are many challenges, but with successful integration many municipalities consider refugees to be the solution to the future need of labour.
The large number of refugees arriving in the Nordic countries is having consequences for Nordic cooperation. This is the theme for the Nordic Council’s session in Oslo. New border obstacles have emerged, and if the refugee situation is handled very differently in the different Nordic countries it could have grave consequences.
Less than one in three refugees in Denmark finds work after three years. Now the government and the social partners want to change this by introducing a two year integration education programme in the workplace.
Sweden’s feminist government wants to use its foreign policy to promote women’s and girl's rights, representation and resources based on the reality in which they live. What exactly a feminist foreign policy means is hard to define, but the perspective should permeate everything the foreign ministry and the diplomatic missions to.
Since last year’s barometer there has been a change of government in Finland and in Denmark. Both resulted in governments with fewer female ministers. As a result Nordic gender equality falls by three points to 66 points. Behind the seemingly slight loss, women particularly in Denmark are facing a real setback in the fight for power.
Nordic countries are leading the way in sustainable development and welfare, built on solid democratic foundations. That was one of the central themes when Finland organised its first conference after taking on the 2016 Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“Immigration to the Nordic region does not only mean more diversity. What we’re seeing now is that the diversity is diversifying. We get super-diversity,” says Tuomas Martikainen, Director of the Finnish Institute of Migration.
The Finnish programme for Nordic cooperation aims to secure welfare by extending cooperation between different government departments and organisations. But can it be done? Iceland’s Welfare Watch is one of the best examples of an innovative way to cooperate.
Kick off in Turku/Åbo for the Finnish Presidency and a great drive for Nordic cross-sector cooperation. How can work, welfare and culture be combined?
What if we turned the pyramide upside down and allowed the ministry of culture, rather than the ministry of finance, to be in charge of social development? What would happen if that ministry, which is usually bottom of the hierarchy, could prioritise measures to promote sustainable development? Would it make a difference?