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News 2020

Rail suicides: a joint Nordic approach to reduce numbers
Every year, 3,500 people in the Nordic region take their own lives. The Nordic Council Welfare Committee wants to stop this happening and has presented a vision to prevent all suicide. One of the group’s proposals is a vision zero for rail suicides by 2025.
The Nordics lack children – only Greenland stands out
The Nordic countries often top global rankings for happiness and gender equality. But who will benefit from this in the future, when fertility rates are falling and populations are ageing? According to the State of the Nordic Region 2020 report, only in Greenland are there far more children than old people.
Varða – Iceland's new labour market research institute
The Icelandic Confederation of Labour ASÍ and the Federation of State and Municipal Employees BSRB have agreed to set up a new institute for labour market research in the country.
Labour Ministers invite Nicolas Schmit to meeting
Nordic governments are joining forces to explain the Nordic labour market model to EU lawmakers. The Labour Ministers have sent a letter to the new Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, inviting him to a meeting in Copenhagen in early April to discuss the Nordic countries’ chosen priorities.
Record low unemployment in the Faroe Islands – just 296 people
Nowhere in the Nordics will you find a higher employment rate than in the Faroe Islands right now. It stands at 90%, and unemployment is only 0.9%. What is it like in a society where nearly everyone has a job, and where being unemployed is correspondingly difficult?
Norwegian pilot project: get work-ready in the workplace
Nordic employment authorities usually use one of two approaches when trying to help people far removed from the labour market. The traditional one is to make the job seeker “job ready” before starting work. The other is to train people for the labour market in an actual workplace.
Letter to the EU exposes cracks within European Trade Union Confederation
It is with regret that we need to inform the Commission that the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) reply regarding the consultation on European minimum wages is not representative for us. That is what ten trade union confederations from Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden write in a letter which highlights a historic crack in ETUC.
Interim Norwegian study of the corona epidemic’s effect on workers
Many Norwegian workers have become pessimistic about the future since the corona epidemic broke out. Those with the lowest levels of education and lowest pay have been the hardest hit. People between 30 and 44 are exposed shows a study from the Norwegian Work Research Institute WRI.
Labour shortage for Nordic agriculture and forestry
As unemployment rises rapidly, many Nordic farmers worry how they will get hold of foreign seasonal workers. The hardest hit are gardens, strawberry farms and other agriculture.
Infection control key as Rambøll reopen open-plan office
Rambøll employees enjoy working in open-plan offices, but also see the need to follow Norway’s infection control rules. Researchers are warning people to be even more cautious.
Prolonged sitting an increasing health and safety risk in Europe
Sedentary work has become one of the main challenges identified in the third major study of European work environments from the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work.
When Uber met the Nordics
The taxi platform company Uber spent little time getting four Nordic countries to change their legislation to better suit the company’s business model. Despite this, the number of people working for Uber remains low, according to a report on the platform economy commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
NMR announces funding for research on Corona measures
The Nordic Council of Ministers has set aside DKK 1 million for a research project to look at the effects of the measures in connection with the covid-19 pandemic.
A silver lining for working life during corona
Improved gender equality, less stress and more people who feel they have a meaningful job with positive challenges. Those are some of the surprising results found in the 2020 Norwegian working life barometer.
Danish Presidency: The Nordic cooperation passed the Corona test
Closed borders, economic confusion in Nordic cooperation forums and hundreds of millions of kroner for environment and climate work. These are some of the issues on the agenda for Nordic Ministers for Cooperation when they meet face-to-face for the first time since before the pandemic.
Which student cities do students prefer?
What are students most and least happy with in 10 Nordic student cities? Statistics Norway have used data from the Eurostudent VI survey to compare students’ situations in different countries.
Would-be exchange students losing out
International experience is important in a lot of occupations, but for many, the corona pandemic has left the dream of a colourful CV in tatters.
Norway's richest are richer than we thought
Top leaders on dizzyingly high salaries who pay little tax. A small elite who takes home a big chunk of the national income. No, we are not talking about the USA or the UK – this is Norway in 2020, according to Statistics Norway.
Akureyri’s “unity government” to tackle the crisis
All five political parties on the city council of Northern Iceland’s largest city, Akureyri, have formed a coalition. Until the next election, they must work together to tackle the crisis created by the Corona pandemic and the loss of tourism income.
Anti toll road party came third in Bergen
Old political parties which spend years gathering too few votes fail to engage generations, while new one-issue parties are emerging. Political constellations change while we are waiting to see who might gain some power.
Danish drive against sexual harassment at work
Sexual harassment in the workplace must end, say the government and the social partners. Clearer rules for psychological work environments came into force on 1 November 2020.
Swedish employment law – a drama with many acts
The rules covering the labour market still create heated debate in Swedish politics. Time and again, this issue has challenged the government’s survival. It also highlights disagreements between the governing Social Democrats and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO.
Iceland starting to miss "overtourism"
Few countries have seen a more rapid tourism growth than Iceland. For many years, the number of tourists rose by 20 to 25% every year. This led to a debate over whether Iceland was a victim of “overtourism” like Barcelona and Venice.
Vaasa wants to attract more people by making them the world’s happiest
The Finnish city of Vaasa was at the very start of a campaign to make it the happiest city on Earth. Then corona hit. Now it remains to be seen whether the city and its inhabitants can create greater happiness in the depths of a crisis and a pandemic.
Sweden’s century-long relationship with the ILO
Sweden has had a relationship with the ILO for 100 years. Yet the country never ratified the labour organisation’s first convention. There have been tensions behind the scenes from time to time – like when the conventions have clashed with the Swedish model for collective agreements.
A “Nordic”, independent Scotland post-Brexit?
The last time the Scots went to the polls to vote for or against independence from the United Kingdom, there was speculation whether an independent Scotland would seek to link up with the Nordic region. Next year things might get serious.
East meets Nordics in EU road transport show-down
The Nordic countries are celebrating that the EU has finally approved rules aimed at fighting social dumping in the international road transport sector. Meanwhile, a number of low-pay countries in the east have asked the EU Court of Justice to annul them.
Rovaniemi’s Santa is on his own a lot this year
Christmas music plays on speakers everywhere. The sun sets around 1.30 pm. Santa Claus Village in Finnish Lapland is like a wintery Las Vegas, but far less busy.
Covid threat to Nordic “julebord” tradition and restaurant survival
Julebord is a Christmas office party on steroids and a major tradition in Norway and Denmark. This season is already a crisis for restaurants and food providers say enterprise confederations. But at least there will probably be fewer #metoo situations.
War destitution created Lapland's tourism boom. It began here.
The tourism industry in Finnish Lapland has a lot to thank Eleanor Roosevelt for. The presidential widow’s visit to Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle set in motion an international Lapland industry. This year is the 70th anniversary of her visit.
Elves, dogs and reindeer suffer as tourists disappear from Arctic Circle
There seems to be more visitors to the post office than anywhere else in Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village – despite the risk of infection. Auli Sihvo has worked there for 20 years and seen how Santa has improved Lapland's commercial pulling-power.

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