The welfare state in a Nordic perspective is the theme for Norway’s 2012 presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. One priority will be the inclusion of exposed social groups in the labour market. The social partners will be important contributors during the presidency.
"This is just the beginning," said union leader Len McCluskey when nearly two million public sector workers joined the UK's largest strike in 30 years. On 30 November schools, hospitals, docks and airports were hit. David Cameron's government called the strike irresponsible and the unions militant, but more than 60 percent of Brits supported the strike. British trade unions believe they're facing a watershed which will bring them new support and power.
Danes - especially young men - abandon trade unions with record speed new figures show. Experts believe it can undermine the social partners’ self regulation - the so-called flexicurity model.
Iceland has managed surprisingly well after the economic collapse of autumn 2008. Iceland’s government and the International Monetary Fund has staged a conference on Iceland’s road to recovery in Reykjavik.
Denmark’s new government has talked about it, the Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers has done something about it and when Norway takes over the presidency there will be increased attention from the Nordic prime ministers, Nordic parliamentarians and not least the responsible ministers. All wish to improve free movement within the Nordic region.
There are 4.5 million people in employment in Sweden - one million more than 50 years ago. That is one conclusion to be drawn from Statistics Sweden’s (SCB) monthly labour market figures delivered over the past 50 years. SCB’s labour surveys, known as AKU, have helped politicians, economists, journalists and other decision makers to get to know the state, development and dynamics of Sweden’s labour market.
Organisations for people with disabilities along with the social partners didn’t hold back their praise when Norway’s Minister for Labour Hanne Bjurstrøm and Minister for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Audun Lysbakken presented their ‘Job strategy for people with impaired work ability‘ during the presentation of Norway’s 2012 budget on 6 October.
More people must work more, productivity must increase and salaries will freeze. These are central elements to Denmark’s new centre-left government’s labour market policy, which has been relatively well received by both employers’ and workers’ organisations.
Finland’s social partners are desperately looking for a new negotiation model. Or rather: the trade unions are trying their hardest to convince employers that a 40 year old labour market institution is still relevant.
“Involuntary part-time work is a serious problem both for individuals and for society as a whole. It is the government’s goal to reduce involuntary part-time work and to make sure those who wish can get full-time employment,” says Minister of Labour Hanne Bjurstrøm.
A new major survey exposes marked changes both for the better and for the worse in how Danes experience their own work environment and health.
How can Nordic countries better cooperate and become stronger in the face of global challenges? How can they join forces to increase growth and attract the right skills? Which initiatives are best to get people on the outside of the labour market into working life? Accelerating globalisation is changing the story of the Nordic region.
Men in the Nordic region are involved in fatal accidents at work far more often than women. 1,157 men died in work accidents between 2003 and 2008, compared to only 85 women.
Recent year's attempts to increase Finland's pension age from 63 to 65 have slowly gained momentum. The actual pension age has increased following the 2004 pension reform and now stands just over 60.4 years. The number 65 has turned into a hot political potato. While political parties, employers and trade unions tend to agree today's 25 year olds will need to work three years longer than today's pensioners, there is little agreement on how to achieve this goal.
This year workers in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden will be told how many shares they have earned in the French corporation Suez S.A. This is the result of a collective agreement which applies globally to all employees in the Suez group's companies. Such transnational agreements are becoming increasingly commonplace. But could a worker in Denmark be sure she gets what she is entitled to according to a collective agreement which has been entered into in France?
Is it possible to calculate how much the Nordic countries are loosing because of the many remaining border obstacles affecting the labour market? According to Copenhagen Economics no border obstacles would mean 3,000 to 6,000 more cross-border commuters. If all of them came out of unemployment it would save 4.2bn Danish kroner (€56m).
To fulfil the promises of a better working life where people want to work for longer, we need new ways of reorganise the way we work - physically. Nordic Labour Journal has visited two workplaces in Finland where the new office space is already a reality.
The Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers' wants to spend 2011 to focus on global cooperation, border cooperation, youth, the future needs for labour market competence, extended careers and the prevention of accidents in the workplace.
Workers hired through labour agencies should be granted the same rights to salaries, holidays and working hours as if they were hired directly by the company employing them, says a Swedish special investigator.
The OECD praised the Swedish economy in its economic report on 20 January. But there was also a warning about Sweden's high unemployment rate and the risk of a two tier labour market.