We have learnt that a state welfare system is immensely important and a prerequisite for a healthy working life, says Island’s Minister for Welfare Gudbjartur Hannesson. That is why protecting our welfare system has been given top priority during the crisis.
"The union's role is to be relevant in today's working life, which is considerably different from the time when my parents started working. Yet the basic values remain the same. As always the union is about the dream of freedom, development and having the chance to live a good life," says Eva Nordmark, newly elected chairperson for one of the world's largest organisations representing professional employees, TCO. It comprises 15 trade unions with 1.2 million members.
Norway's Cooperation Minister Rigmor Aasrud wants to engage the Nordic countries' grass roots when Norway takes on the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2012. She feels the Nordic welfare models could be a theme which could appeal to both the general public and stimulate debate among politicians. Other important issues will be a better understanding of the Scandinavian languages and simplified border controls.
Will the social partners reach agreement on the working time directive like they managed to come to an agreement on work-related stress? Initial talks have begun but nobody knows how it will end. The social dialogue is nevertheless playing a part in Europe's policy development.
Finland's health and social care sector is facing major challenges. But this is not about a lack of resources. Systems and processes need an overhaul to allow doctors and nurses to work with what they have been trained for: to take care of people, Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health Juha Rehula tells Nordic Labour Journal.
“We want to do something for the mining industry. There has never been Nordic cooperation in that field. Right now there’s a Klondike situation for mining in Sweden, Norway and Finland. If you include Greenland there’s a great Danish interest too,” says Ewa Björling, Sweden’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation.
Finland’s new government has ambitious goals for improving people’s level of competence. Finns will handle structural changes and future challenges better through improved education and adult training.
Loa Brynjulfsdottir is the new general secretary at the Council of Nordic Trade Unions, NFS. Her top priority is to further defend the Nordic collective agreement model. It is under pressure from the more regulations-based way in which labour market issues are dealt with within the EU.
Ingrid Finboe Svendsen's dream is to create a popular drive for a better work environment. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has often been in the spotlight for dealing with cases of social dumbing, but the Authority's director wants to showcase the full scope of what the organisation does. And this is where Facebook comes in.