The minimum wage — fit for the Nordic region?

«Modern slavery» is how truck driver Freddy Welle describes the working conditions he encounters on Swedish roads. EU countries want to introduce a statutory minimum wage to combat unacceptable working conditions. So does the Swedish Transport Union. The fight against social dumping is intensifying in the Nordic countries, but statutory minimum wages are not on the agenda. Instead the unions want to continue using collective bargaining. “Nordic countries should stop thinking a statutory minimum wage for the EU would be tantamount to saying goodbye to the Nordic model,” says Bente Sorgenfrey, President for the Council of Nordic Trade Unions. The Nordic Labour Journal takes the challenge and makes the statuary minimum waget this month's focus.

Feb 07, 2015 | Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall / TT / NTB Scanpix
Latest news
Norway: strike against labour law reform, tough conflicts ahead (Feb 07, 2015) Will more short term contracts lead to more jobs for more people? Will it make it easier to access the labour market? Would it create more jobs or just more temporary staff? These questions are at the core of Norwegian workers’ fight against changes to the working environment act.
Denmark: more refugees and immigrants into work (Feb 07, 2015) Far too few refugees and immigrants in Denmark are in work, and there is broad agreement something needs to be done about it. Yet there is little support for the Prime Minister’s proposal to get refugees and immigrants to clean up Denmark’s beaches and fix swings in kindergartens.
"LinkedIn can complement the employment service" (Feb 07, 2015) “We must improve matching in the labour market, and the employment service needs help from other players to do this. LinkedIn could play an important role in a well functioning labour market,” says Sweden’s Minister for Employment, Ylva Johansson.
Technology and cooperation key for sustainable development in the Arctic (Feb 07, 2015) The Nordic region needs to speak with one voice and develop joint technology if the northernmost parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden want to achieve sustainable development in the Arctic, according to the report ‘Growth from the North’.
Sweden’s government crisis means less money for working life (Dec 08, 2014) On Wednesday 3 December Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced snap elections will be held on 22 March 2015. His centre-left minority government’s budget was voted down in parliament, which also means the promised increase in spending for the Public Employment Service and the Work Environment Authority will not materialise.
Iceland: fewer take paternity leave (Dec 08, 2014) When Iceland introduced paid paternity leave in 2000 it was a huge success. New fathers welcomed the opportunity to stay at home with their children. But the trend has not continued, and fathers’ income opportunities have worsened. Families can no longer afford the cut in earnings.
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Recent articles
The minimum wage — threat or opportunity? (Feb 07, 2015) Comments Stop worrying and join the debate about a legally binding minimum wage across the EU. That’s the bombshell from Bente Sorgenfrey, the new President for the Council of Nordic Trade Unions, NFS. Is fear for the debate the real problem, or is a statutory minimum wage a real threat to the Nordic model? The Nordic Labour Journal kicks off the debate in this month’s theme.
Minister for Strategic Development Kristina Persson: make the Arctic “green” (Feb 07, 2015) Portrait So far she has been the least visible minister in the Swedish government. That’s about to change as she is setting up a think tank in the government offices.
Editorial: New tendencies are focusing minds (Dec 12, 2014) Opinion The OECD leaves little doubt that the Nordic region has come through the crisis better than most other countries, with low unemployment, high employment and little inequality. But take nothing for granted. New tendencies are focusing minds. Organised labour is under pressure while the sharing economy spreads at an ever faster rate. The Nordic Labour Journal checks out the facts.
Gerd Kristiansen: Norwegian LO leader with a backbone (Dec 12, 2014) Portrait There is tension in the air. The leader for Norway’s largest labour organisation is incensed with the government’s labour policies and its lack of cooperation on the proposed new work environment act which would grant employers more powers to hire people on temporary contracts. Her determination can be felt across the room.
Women could determine the Nordic model’s future (Dec 12, 2014) Insight A high employment rate for women is crucial to the future of the Nordic model. This was the main message from the OECD’s Mark Pearson as the report ‘The Nordic Model – challenged but capable of reform’, was being discussed at the meeting of Nordic labour ministers.
Editorial: Knowledge and efforts needed for a better work environment (Nov 12, 2014) Comments We all want a working life we can live with. How do you achieve that? We have asked people in workplaces which have won awards for good work environments, experts and others who are serious about the work environment: what is needed to create change for the better?
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Kristina Persson Kristina Persson: Strategy minister who wants a green transition

So far she has been the least visible minister in the Swedish government. That’s about to change as she is setting up a think tank in the government offices.

- I am now building an organisation which can provide analysis to help develop new ideas and suggestions for measures, like how you create jobs in light of all the technological change which is taking place, she says to th Nordic Labour Journal,

- I am recruiting and soon we will introduce the people who will chair the analysis groups. The themes we will be focusing on to begin with include future working life, green change and global governance and development. We will work quickly and present reports on these areas in a year from now.

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Per cent of workforce -
link to source:

Denmark 6.4 -November

Finland 8.8 - December

Norway 3.7 - November

Iceland 4.3 - December

Sweden 7.8 - December

OECD 7.2 - October


Some earlier themes:
Media in crisis - a challenge for democracy? Media in crisis - a challenge for democracy
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Celebrating 60 years with a borderless labour market Celebrating 60 years with a borderless labour market
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