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Portrait

Portrait 2020

Portraits of persons who influence work life.

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Portrait 2018

Ásmundur Einar Daðason: Time to overhaul the social safety net
Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Equality Ásmundur Einar Daðason is also responsible for labour market issues. He met the labour market parties already the first week after becoming a government minister. Right now two issues are extremely important, he believes: To maintain the good relations with the labour market parties and strengthening the trust between the ministry, the government and the parties.
OsloMet’s Rector Curt Rice wants to shake up academia
Oslo has a new university, the third largest in Norway. OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, will educate the future labour force across a range of professions. If Rector gets his way, gender equality will permeate everything. Digitalisation will be a top priority and programmes will be developed at the intersection of research, teaching and practice.
Anna Söderbäck: #metoo shows a need for a new type of leadership
#metoo has spread like wildfire across the Nordic region. In Sweden, 65 different trades gathered their stories under different banners. First were the artists with hashtags like #tystnadtagning (silence, filming) and #ViSjungerUt (we’re singing out). Anna Söderbäck also shared her experiences. Now she is calling for a new type of leadership.
Britt Östlund: Technology is made by people – so we can influence it
80 year olds are considerably more different from each other than 40 year olds, yet older people are often described as an homogenous group with no real knowledge of how to use technology. This limits innovation and influences how welfare technology for older people is created, says Britt Östlund, a professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology specialising on older people and welfare technology.
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi: Sticks to facts and fears protectionism
Former Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi has spent nearly a lifetime in Finnish politics. As OECD Deputy Secretary-General she has spent most of her time advising the world’s governments on development and growth. At year’s end it is over. Now she wants to help Finland prosper as leader for the Finnish Commerce Federation.
Stein Olav Henrichsen: Taking Munch into the future
The new Munch Museum already towers 13 stories over old Viking plots by the Oslo fjord. Stein Olav Henrichsen is the museum director who has taken on the task of managing an historic milestone, as the Munch collection is moved and visitor numbers must double. Who is he, and what does he want? Is Munch relevant enough to fill the grand new museum?
Nader Ahmadi heads the new work environment authority with “ears to the ground”
In Swedish Gävle a new public body in work environment knowledge is emerging, which will be responsible for creating and disseminating knowledge. “The work environment is extremely important for socially sustainable societies,” says the Director General Nader Ahmadi.
Drífa Snædal, Iceland’s new ASÍ leader: Taking the helm in turbulent times
Icelandic trade unions are going through serious changes. The more than 100 year old Icelandic Confederation of Labour ASÍ has elected a new President – Drífa Snædal. For the first time ever, ASÍ is being led by a woman.
Marjo Bruun: The new economy is a statistical challenge
Marjo Bruun, Director General for Statistics Finland, considers journalists to be the most important partners in the fight for honest words and digits.

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Portrait 2017

Þorsteinn Víglundsson: Legislating for an equal pay standard
Iceland’s new Minister of Social Affairs and Equal Rights, Þorsteinn Víglundsson, will introduce a brand new labour market policy based on the Nordic model. He will also present proposed legislation to implement an equal pay standard. Þorsteinn knows the labour market well, having been the Director General of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA).
Norway's Minister of Labour Anniken Hauglie is passionate about social entrepreneurship
Anniken Hauglie is changing working hour regulations and strengthening legislation protecting whistleblowers. Together with the social partners she wants to draw clearer lines for what staffing agencies can and cannot do, strengthen work against work related crime and she invites Nordic colleagues to discuss what the sharing economy and new trends will do to the future of work.
Britt Lundberg: President of the entire Nordic region
Border obstacles must go. That is crucial for both growth and employment. And important for the 2017 Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, says the President of the Nordic Council, Britt Lundberg from Åland and Finland.
Luca Visentini: The OECD must follow up its new narrative of inclusive growth
The European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC, criticises what they see as poor correlation between the OECD's macro-economic analysis and the strategic recommendations given to individual member countries. The advice does not reflect a new narrative about inclusive growth.
Ragnhild Lied – Head of Nordic trade unions guarding the Nordic model
Globalisation, technological developments and a changing labour market are all challenges to organised work. Trade union leader Ragnhild Lied is at the frontline fighting labour market crime, the shadow economy, new organisational structures and the weakening of the working environment act.
Pål Molander: The Nordic region must not forget the importance of a good working environment
A good working environment is good for business, says Pål Molander, Director General at the National Institute of Occupational Health. What is more: The Nordic countries have successfully adapted the working environment in the face of a changing labour market. The working environment has been a strength in the past, and must remain so in the future, he says.
Matilda af Hällström, entrepreneurial Nordic Council lobbyist in Brussels
It is an active 24-year-old which the Nordic Council has chosen to be its first local representative in Brussels. Matilda af Hällström is already busy finding out how the Nordic Council can improve its cooperation with the EU and within the EU.
Magnus Gissler: Growing international interest for Nordic agreement model
“In my view the trend has changed, and the interest for and understanding of the Nordic model has grown internationally. This also gives more energy to the Nordic cooperation,” says Magnus Gissler, General Secretary of The Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS).

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Portrait 2016

Åland’s Premier Katrin Sjögren: Multi-talented law maker
The Liberal Katrin Sjögren has been the head of Åland’s autonomous government since November last year, and the challenges are queuing up. Cuts are needed everywhere, Åland’s largest factory is threatened with closure and a high profile wind power project looks set to get blown away.
Birgitta Forsström – The fresh thinking Nordic region’s working environment director
Good leadership is crucial for well-being at work thinks NIVA’s new director, Birgitta Forsström. NIVA now offers courses in health promoting leadership and diversity leadership in addition to more traditional themes. This is how she wants to create new Nordic arenas for training in the working environment area.
SAK President Jarkko Eloranta: Poorer Finns cannot be a good thing for Finland
Since June this year, Finland’s largest trade union SAK has been run by Jarkko Eloranta. In this portrait interview with the Nordic Labour Journal he attacks the government’s labour market politics for its aim of making Finnish labour cheaper.
Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, the government minister in charge of Nordic cooperation in 2017
Elisabeth Vik Aspaker is Norway's Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and the Minister of Nordic Cooperation. She comes from Norway's northernmost county and is used to working across the Cap of the North. She has been an advisor and state secretary in several centre-right governments and is well prepared for 2017. That is when she will be in charge of Nordic cooperation. What will be her priorities?
Finland’s Anne Berner: We must not loose the right to Nordic freedom of movement
It has been eight months since business woman Anne Berner became a minister in Finland’s new centre right Sipilä government. She plans to stay in politics for one term, which means she has no more than three years and four months to implement her plans. And she has her plans laid out.
Kristin Lund: No shortcuts to gender equality in the armed forces
Major General Kristin Lund from Norway is the UN’s first female commander of a peacekeeping force. She believes there will be a female commander-in-chief in one of the Nordic countries within four years.
Carola Lemne: Optimist on behalf of Swedish businesses
Carola Lemne is first among equals at The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and spokeswoman for 60,000 small and large companies. Her recipe for better inclusion of newly arrived people into work is cutting costs for employers. Lower pay and lower tax leave both employers and employees better off.
NIB’s Henrik Normann – the welfare sector needs a bank director too
Henrik Normann heads one of the most successful Nordic institutions, the Nordic Investment Bank. It is celebrating 40 years in business, and was founded with capital from all of the five Nordic countries.
The ILO’s Deborah Greenfield: In dialogue with the Nordics on gender equality
Deborah Greenfield was part of the transitional administration from Bush to Obama. Now, as the Deputy Director General, she is about to take the ILO into a new era. Meeting Nordic labour ministers, Deborah Greenfield is impressed with the discussion.

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Portrait 2014

Solveig Horne, minister with a blue-blue view of Norwegian integration
“I am now in government,” says the Progress Party’s Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Solveig Horne. She will stick to the cooperation agreement with the Conservatives and the supporting parties the Liberals and Christian Democrats. There’s a lot of good Progress Party politics right there, says the government minister. She has “no comment” about party colleagues who call for more Progress Party politics.
The salary gap: a stain on Finland’s reputation
When it comes to female representation in business and politics, Finland is a leader in the EU in a range of fields. The Ombudsman for Equality, Pirkko Mäkinen, is particularly pleased with the fact that Finland has better female representation in boardrooms than any other EU country - 27 percent - without having to use gender quotas.
Ólafía Rafnsdóttir: Women needed in the wage rate decision process
Iceland is known internationally for its strong female leaders, but men have been the ones deciding wage rates. Ólafía B. Rafnsdóttir became the first female President in 122 years of Iceland’s trade union for commercial workers, VR, when she was elected last year.
Stine Bosse: Keep the Nordic region a sweet spot
The Nordic region is a privileged sweet spot, and should remain one. But it means fully embracing the EU says Danish Stine Bosse, named one of the world’s most powerful businesswomen many times over.
Mikael Sjöberg: rebuilding trust in the Public Employment Service
Mikael Sjöberg again leads one of Sweden’s most important working life institutions. His challenge is to build trust in the Public Employment Service, which has come in for a lot of criticism.
Kvinfo Director: The Nordics can’t afford not to be gender equal
Modern gender equality must liberate both sexes, and the Nordic region must be at the forefront of this. It is too expensive not to, says Nina Groes, Director at the Danish Centre for Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity, Kvinfo.
Ylva Johansson: Minister for Employment with a feminist agenda
Her ambitions are clear: youth unemployment is priority number one. Second on the list is to match jobseekers and jobs. She wants to improve working conditions in female-dominated workplaces and she will fight for more social rights within the EU.
Gerd Kristiansen: Norwegian LO leader with a backbone
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.

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