An "intention agreement for an inclusive workplace" was reached between the government and the Norwegian social partners at the beginning of October. Over the next four years, the parties will work actively towards reducing absenteeism by 20 %, getting more disabled people into work and encouraging people to stay working for longer. The agreement will be reviewed after two years.
Nordic efforts to improve working environments are now beginning to show results. Tarja Filatov, Finland's Minister of Labour, has brought the attention of the Nordic Council to the economic significance that a good working environment can have for businesses and the national economy.
It's a myth that Swedish and Norwegian men only take paternity leave so they can go deer hunting. Research shows that men have the same reasons as women, according to the Nordic men's conference in Copenhagen.
By giving the jobless the 'right and duty' to work, the Danish government has managed to bring unemployment figures down. But, in a new reform, the Danish Minister of Labour recognises that compulsory activation in recent years has gone too far.
By investing in networks, partnerships and closer co-operation between research and private industries, Norway intends to concentrate on growth and innovation over the next ten years. This initiative, entitled "Value Creation 2010", was launched at a conference in Kongsberg at the end of October.
Gnosjö is home to one of Sweden's most successful industrial regions and, paradoxically, also one with the lowest level of education. Here, aspects other than theoretical training have combined to generate creativity and success. The central feature is and has been the ability to co-operate.The tie between research and development is now being drawn even tighter.
Ministers of labour from the Nordic countries and Baltic states have agreed to increase bilateral and multilateral dialogue and the exchange of views on common labour market policy issues actively and on all levels. The decision was reached at the first meeting between the Nordic and Baltic ministers of labour held in Tavastehus, Finland, on 22 October. The main issue of discussion concerned labour force mobility between the Nordic and Baltic countries. The Finnish Minister of Labour, Tarja Filatov, hosted the meeting. Due to regional differences in employment and the increasing average age of the labour force, questions concerning labour force mobility have played a key role during the Finnish chairmanship of the Nordic cooperation this year.
Two male social advisors, newly appointed to the County Administrative Board in Malmö, were given salaries in excess of those earned by their incumbent female colleagues. In a judgement issued by the Swedish Labour Court on 23 May, this difference was attributable solely to market forces and not in any way gender discriminating.
Expert group proposes new models to meet labour market demands: “We believe that improving the function of the labour market and ensuring the availability of labour will be key factors in the next few years. This policy line includes the provision of some additional services for more hard-to-place applicants by ‘head-hunters’,” says Heikki Räisänen, an advicer at the Finnish Ministry of Labour in charge of the expert group who put forward the proposal on further developing the Labour Market Policy reform of 1998.
In April this year a new agreement was struck between the two biggest unions in Reykjavik and the municipality.The agreement will bring about a radical change in wage structures and form the basis for the evaluation of all jobs.“A blow has been struck for a fairer and more just pay structure between men and women, something we have been striving to achieve since 1997,” says Birgir Björn Sigurjonsson, Director of Human Resources for the City of Reykjavik.
Through the implementation of a series of initiatives, the Danish Minister of Labour, Ove Hygum, is aiming to improve conditions for the 200,000 Danish wage-earners who carry out the same monotonous work every day. However, according to the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI), it is being done in an amateurish way.