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In focus 2012

Globalisation of airlines - a walkout for safety?
To see how globalisation can squeeze work conditions, just look at the aviation industry. Everybody wants to fly safely, but both customers and authorities seem tempted by cheap airline tickets. The result is trade unions on their knees while pilots and other airline staff must work longer hours. But is the situation as bleak as it could seem? Is the Nordic model under threat?
The fastest shrinking trade
Printed newspapers and books are products which have been developing over more than a hundred years. But now the industry is shrinking fast as digital news and books impact on newspaper and book publishers‘ economy. Some call it the world’s fastest shrinking industry.
Theme: Can culture turn the downturn around?
The role culture plays in creating jobs has become even more important. Both within the EU and in the Nordic region there is talk of culture being a creative catalyst which can help create competitiveness and employment in the wider economy.
Strengthening Nordic welfare state cooperation
Youth unemployment is a worry across the Nordic region. When Nordic labour ministers met in Svalbard recently they agreed to identify the good examples where employers help include young people out of work and education. They also agreed to strengthen their cooperation on how to face the challenges of increasing labour immigration. The ministers also discussed gender equality at their meeting in Longyearbyen, one of the world’s northernmost permanent settlements where the Arctic surroundings would play a rather unusual role.
Youth on the edge
Youth unemployment is a big problem in the Nordic region. Especially exposed are those who end up ‘on the edge’ of the labour market. They have neither jobs nor are they in any kind of education. Many youths move to a different Nordic country to work. But so far this has not helped those who are unemployed. Only 1.4 percent of Swedish youths who move to Denmark and Norway are on some kind of unemployment benefit. This summer the Nordic exchange programme Nordjobb launches ‘Jobbresan’ (the Job Journey). First in line are 80 unemployed youths from the Swedish municipality of Söderhamn. They get the chance to travel to Oslo and look for work.
Apps are changing working life
A third wave of change to how we relate to computers is washing over the world. The first came with the introduction of large computers in the 1960s. The second wave came with the personal computer. The third wave began when computing power moved into mobile telephones and tablets. Apps are small computer programs which link the devices to large computer systems. They will bring more change than we can imagine to the way we work and how fast we work. The number of Norwegians with access to a smartphone has increased from 33 to 54 percent in a year. In Sweden mobile internet usage increased by 50 percent in 2011. There are winners and losers here. Nokia failed to develop smartphones fast enough, and thousands there are loosing their jobs. Meanwhile app development means new opportunities for smaller companies as businesses change.
When commuting becomes an obstacle race
Border obstacles can be instant traps. But they can also emerge much later as you enter retirement or become unemployed. Half a million Nordic citizens have either moved to another Nordic country or have been cross border commuting in the past ten years. Nordic Labour Journal takes a close look at the statistics and who the commuters really are.
Gender equality - in our generation?
Nordic women are far ahead in most areas, yet powerful positions remain male-dominated. Nordic Labour Journal’s barometer shows how women have lost political power in the past year. It’s not a trend change, but a warning signal. Nordic governments want better gender balance, but how to achieve it? Sweden goes for women entrepreneurs, Denmark’s Minister for Equality wants to change his efforts up a gear. EU commissioner Viviane Reding threatens gender quotas to get more women into boardrooms. A Danish brewing giant takes unilateral action. Yet not like in Norway, where a quota law backed up by effective sanctions, is proving a success.
Age is no barrier
We must demystify old age. That was the message at the Copenhagen conference marking the beginning of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations 2012. Europe’s age distribution is rapidly changing. The Danish Minster for Employment, Mette Frederiksen, pointed out there will be fewer young people in the labour market than people outside as early as in 2017. She said older people need to work a bit longer. The demographic challenges were also top of the agenda when Sweden’s Prime minister invited nine of his colleagues to the Northern Future Forum. As we live longer we must work for longer, goes the slogan in Norway. Why do Icelandic men work longer than anybody else? What do employers and authorities do to prolong the careers of older people? The Nordic Labour Journal focuses on points of view and debates emerging from our changing demographics.

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