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News 2018

Norway’s blue-green government with a labour market focus
The Liberal Party is the new party in the Norwegian government coalition. Prime Minister Erna Solberg has also reshuffled some of her government ministers. Five out of six main points in the new government’s political platform are about the labour market.
Students in Danish vocational schools need to expand their vision
19 year old Marcus Brask Nielsen spent four weeks in London studying and in an internship as part of his vocational education. It boosted his self-confidence and gave him courage to work abroad. Many other students in vocational training stay at home, and this worries schools and the social partners.
Norwegian technical studies recruitment a model for Nordic universities
A considerable proportion of girls choose not to study sciences and technology. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU in Trondheim has chosen to hold several fairs to recruit girls. The rest of the Nordics will follow, the “girl agents” say.
Swedish social partners warn against EU directive on employment conditions
Is the EU about to take over member states’ prerogative to regulate employment and working conditions? Yes, this is what may happen if the Commission’s proposal for a directive ‘for more transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union’ is passed, warn both trade unions and employers in Sweden.
Norwegian experts: Whistleblowers need more protection
The government-appointed committee assessing the need for better laws and regulations surrounding whistleblowing wants to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers with an ombudsman who can provide advice and assistance in whistleblowing cases, and a separate dispute commission to make it easier for people to speak out. Both could be enshrined in a whistleblower law.
The Nordic region – borderless yet clearly defined
Municipalities on Greenland as large as the whole of France. Five countries whose economies, if combined, would be the world’s twelfth largest. Cities where 62 percent of the labour force work in knowledge intensive businesses. The Nordic region is all of this. The report ‘State of the Nordic Region’, published every second year, is a fascinating reminder of just how different things can be in a region which from the outside appears homogenous.
Icelandic companies want to introduce equal pay standard ahead of time
Icelandic companies are hard at work preparing to meet demands introduced in equal pay legislation presented at the start of the year. Several of them want to adapt the equal pay standard before the deadline. But the amount of work is greater than expected, and the first ones out must start from scratch.
Finnish critics: Unemployed punished for inactivity – regardless of their situation
Finland’s activation model for unemployed people was meant to do just that – activate the unemployed. Yet results remain elusive. All unemployed people are critical to the model, say those the NLJ has spoken to.
Nordic politicians on their guard as the EU’s new labour authority takes shape
The European Commission is moving at pace to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality. In March it presented what it called a ‘Social Fairness Package’, where it proposed that the EU should establish a European labour authority to make sure EU rules on issues including the posting of workers and the coordination of social security schemes are being followed.
Nordic region strengthens cooperation against work-related crime – wants EU onboard
It is called the grey economy, social dumping, work-related crime – yet despite the many names the problems are common and concern all of the Nordic region and Europe. This is about criminal networks, pure exploitation of labour, businesses operating on the edge of the law and unequal competition. All this led to a joint resolution at the ministers’ meeting in Stockholm on 13 April.
Swedish social partners agree to limit right to industrial action
Employers who have signed a collective agreement should be able to trust that the peace obligation still stands. So argue the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the trade union confederations LO, TCO and Saco.
The OECD wants action now: Opportunities for all is the new measure of success
Inequalities are growing. We have plenty of data telling us that – now is the time for action, says the OECD’s Gabriela Ramos. In the report ‘Opportunities for all’, the OECD challenges member countries to fight inequality. “Growth is good, but welfare for all is the true measure of success.” The ETUC’s Luca Visentini will not be happy until he sees a better distribution of wealth being created through collective agreements.
OECD: The crisis is over, but collective bargaining is needed for wage growth
For the first time, more people are now in work in OECD countries than before the 2008 economic crisis. But the increased employment rate has not led to higher wages. The OECD says collective bargaining represents one of the most important tools for increasing living standards.
Conditions for road transport workers splits Europe into east and west
Truck drivers were sacrificed in order to reach an agreement when the changes to the directive on the posting of workers were passed early this summer.
OECD: Iceland makes more from tourism than fisheries
Tourism has become Iceland’s largest trade and top source of income representing 8.3 percent of GDP, according to the OECD report “Tourism Trends and Policies 2018. Only in Spain, Portugal and Mexico does tourism make up a greater percentage of GDP. 14 percent of Iceland’s labour force now works in the tourism industry.
Woman at the top in the Nordic Region
Paula Lehtomäki from Finland becomes the new Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. She was appointed on 5 September by the Nordic cooperation ministers under the leadership of Sweden and Margot Wallström. Lehtomäki begins her job in March 2019.
Disruption patrol alerts authorities of work-related crime
Private operators outside of the public labour inspection system in both Norway and Sweden are gathering information on cowboy operators within the construction industry. The Nordic Labour Journal joined Vidar Sagmyr from the construction industry’s disruption patrol in Trondheim on an ordinary assignment. This time, he received no death threats.
New Swedish council to defend collective bargaining
In light of the European Commission’s many recent legislative initiatives in the social policy field, the Swedish private sector social partners have joined forces to fight for their common interests on an EU level.
Creating a decent work environment for employees in the new economy
How can the Swedish Work Environment Authority carry out inspections and promote satisfactory work environments for the self-employed, digital platform workers or those who are employed in other new forms of organising work? That is what the authority is trying to figure out in a two year-long project commissioned by the government.

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