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News 2019

Danish trade union movement gathers the troops
A joint trade union confederation with all of the country's unions as members? Denmark took a big step in that direction on 1 January.
Severe cuts to the Swedish Public Employment Service
What does the labour market look like for unemployed employment service workers? The question is suddenly relevant for a lot of staff at the Swedish Public Employment Service. 4,500 of them were given their notice on the 30th of January this year.
Lisbeth Dalgaard Svanholm aims to gather big and small employers
While the Danish trade union movement has got a new main organisation, their counterparts, DA, have got a new female leader who aims to bring together some very different member companies.
Iceland invites the ILO to the land of volcanoes and glaciers
On the 4th and 5th of April, Iceland hosted the final out of four Nordic conferences ahead of the ILO’s centenary celebrations. The Future of Work conferences represent a very important forum not only for Iceland, but for the entire Nordic region, says Iceland’s Minister for Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason.
Outgoing Secretary General: keep the Nordic focus
The Nordic region and Nordic cooperation is held in high regard at home and abroad, so keep up the high levels of ambitions. That was the parting message for Nordic parliaments and governments from the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten, as he stepped down after six years today.
A shift in work-related crime – or just prettier facades?
The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has uncovered less work-related crime in 2018, even though more controls have been carried out compared to in previous years. Some point to improved cross-sector cooperation, while critics say inspections are of little use if they are not unannounced.
Nordic project: why do so few girls want to become engineers?
Many future jobs will be centred around digitalisation, the development of artificial intelligence and robots, and biotechnology. But far too few girls chose to study the subjects that are relevant to these areas. The Nordic labour ministers want to know why.
Norway: Gender pay gap remains, but influence is slightly up
The gender pay gap among full-time employees in Norway remains at 20 %. After adjusting for age, education, sector and several other factors, there is still a 13 % gender difference.
New Finnish work environment policy
Psychosocial strain of work will increase as the transformation of work accelerates. We must therefore take a more comprehensive approach to risk assessments. That is the main message from the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s new policy for the work environment until 2030.
A tough tone between EU and national courts
Right now, Nordic labour ministries are busy working with two EU directives. The directive on the posting of workers is being expanded, while a new directive on transparent and predictable working conditions is to be implemented.
Mapping the mental border obstacles between Denmark and Sweden
Preconceptions, experiences, habits and feelings can prevent businesses from working across national borders. Ethnologist Fredrik Nilsson says that besides money, a lot of emotions are being invested in cross-border work.
Nordic trade unions praise #metoo convention
New international standards will protect everybody’s right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. Danish and other Nordic trade unions call it a great leap forward for workers globally and in the Nordic region. Danish employers doubt it will have much effect.
Who killed the Nordic model?
If you read Helge Hvid’s and Eivind Falkum’s book about Work and Wellbeing in the Nordic Countries like a crime story, it becomes exciting. The two editors are trying to establish whether the Nordic model already has died, or is dying. But does the evidence hold?
Why did #metoo hit the Nordics differently?
Two years after the #metoo movement exploded in social media and became a global phenomenon, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will be hosting an international conference on the issue in Reykjavik from 17 to 19 September.
Oslo Foodora riders on strike
It has become an increasingly common sight in many cities: Foodora’s bike riders home-delivering restaurant food. But right now in Oslo, hundreds of striking riders are cycling around to gather support for their demand for a collective agreement. Other countries are taking note.
What are the critical issues for Nordic trade unions?
What goes on inside the head of a trade union leader? At the NFS congress in Malmö they were challenged to spend one minute to describe what they see as the greatest challenge going forward. Here are some of the answers:
New technology leads to growing polarisation in the labour market
Skilled jobs are on the rise both in the Nordic countries and elsewhere in the OECD, while routine jobs disappear. The challenge now is to help more people to develop their skills and to expand social security support to include those without permanent employment.
Nordic trade unions: climate action must be fair
”There are no jobs on a dead planet” was the most cited slogan at the Nordic trade unions’ congress in Malmö from 3 - 5 September. The climate issue is at the forefront of the trade union movement’s mind too.
Far more labour migrants to Poland than Poles to Norway
For the second year running, Poland has received more labour migrants than any other OECD country. Meanwhile, fewer Poles travel to other European countries to work. This could lead to challenges for low-pay sectors in Nordic countries.
Money can't buy you happiness in Iceland
Families need decent wages in order to afford all the essentials. But high wages do not necessarily make families happy. There is no direct correlation between money and happiness, unless the family has real economic problems. The key to happiness is mainly spending time with family and friends.
Greenland needs new jobs and foreign labour
There is an urgent need to create new jobs in Greenland’s mining and tourism industries. At the same time more foreign labour is needed, say the social partners.
The transnationals – when one country is not enough
“More and more people chose to be transnational. They don’t want to live in just one of two countries, but in both. This might not be a huge number of people, but they do represent a challenge for national welfare systems,” says Jørgen Carling. He has spent several years leading a research project looking at the phenomenon at Prio.
Nordic governments: Everyone must join the fight against climate change
Fighting climate change is no longer a choice, but an absolute necessity which means our countries, our citizens and our industries must make great changes. That was the message from the Nordic prime ministers at the Nordic Council’s session in Stockholm.
A gender change in the cleaning profession
Cleaning is about to become a male-dominated occupation. It used to be nearly exclusively women who worked the mop. Now men, especially those with an immigrant background, are taking over according to a report from the Oslo Institute for Social Research.
Danish welfare agency wide open for fraudster
Should an employee get a lesser sentence if it is easy to steal from the employer? This issue is currently being debated in the criminal case brought against Danish Britta Nielsen, who stole more than 100 million kroner (over €13m) from her employer, the Danish National Board of Social Services. The money had been allocated to disadvantaged citizens.
Sweden – more generous than what EU law demands
For many years, Swedish authorities considered it to be people’s right to take their so-called guaranteed pension (garantipension) with them if they moved abroad. Yet, a couple of years ago, the EU Court of Justice made it clear that Sweden was not at all obliged to pay the guaranteed pension to people living in other countries.
New agreement for education on the Cap of the North
The Arctic Vocational Foundation has secured funding from Sweden, Finland and Norway for a further four years of vocational training for youths. A total of 285 youths will be trained every year.
Maria Mindhammar takes helm at Sweden's battered PES
On 5 December Maria Mindhammar was appointed the new Director-General of the Swedish Public Employment Service. It is a job she gladly goes to, while also calling the situation at the Public Employment Service “exceptionally challenging”.
EU agreement on mobility package
After years of inquiries and difficult negotiations, EU countries have agreed on new rules for the road haulage sector. The new rules will be introduced in 2021 and will also cover Norway and Iceland.
Tuula Haatainen new Finnish Minister of Employment
Experienced Haatainen (59) joins a government which features numerous young female minister. So what experience do Finnish politicians have from real working life? The question arose with Finland’s sudden change of government in mid-December.
How Norway got EU benefit regulations wrong for seven years
What lies behind Norway’s scandalous miscarriage of justice that led to 2,400 people being branded benefit cheats because the state misinterpreted the EEA agreement? And how could this have gone on for seven years?
Faroe Islands: big economic growth yet increasing poverty
The Faroe Islands are doing very well. But things are also going very badly. One survey shows the Faroes had the greatest economic growth in Europe last year. At the same time, the number of Faroese at risk of poverty rose from 9 to 10.7 %. “A worrying trend,” says trade union coordinator Sonja Jógvansdóttir.

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