Danish Nurses’ Organization declares a strike

On the 22nd of April 2021 the Danish Nurses' Organization sent a notice of strike in order to achieve a better result of the collective agreement for 2021-2024. The goal is not a strike, but it can be the reality by 21st of May, if it is not possible to achieve a satisfying result prior to this date.

Danish Nurses’ Organization has declared a strike

A majority of the Danish Nurses' Organizations (DNO) members have voted against the collective agreement for 2021-2024 with the public employers in the Regions and Municipalities (1). On the 22nd of April 2021 the Danish Nurses' Organization sent a notice of strike in order to achieve a better result. The aim of the strike notice is to resume the negotiations with the Regions and Municipalities in order to find a solution.

 

Requirements to the employers

The nurses have two requirements to the employers, which are:

  • Higher salaries for the nurses
  • A joint appeal from the parties (employer and employees) to the Danish Parliament for tripartite negotiations, where the three parties jointly commit to finding a solution to the nurses' historical pay gap (2).

The requirements are based on the main reasons why the nurses voted against the proposed collective agreement for the next 3 years:

  • Nurses' salaries are too low: 15-20 percent lower than groups with comparable length of education. The agreement for 2021-2024 emphasized once again that the collective bargaining system cannot change the historical pay gap and wage hierarchy.
  • The corona pandemic has caused extensive extra work for a great number of nurses, and the increased wage costs have affected the regulation scheme in a negative direction. This means, in effect, that wages are being downgraded because nurses, along with others, have helped the employers in a difficult situation. (The regulation scheme ensures that wage increases in the public sector follow the ones in the private labor market. This means that if wages in the public sector increase faster than in the private labor market, then public wage increases must be adjusted back by 80 per cent. The scheme also applies conversely)
  • The nurses are under a lot of pressure due to the lack of nurses. This puts a great pressure on the working environment with too high demands on flexibility.

 

10% of members will be included in the strike

The strike will include approx. 10% of our members. This is the precondition for being able to free oneself from the collective agreement. With the notice of strike, Danish Nurses’ Organization sends a clear message to the employers, that we expect them to take part in finding a better agreement for the nurses.

 

The strike can be a reality by 21st of May

The Danish Nurses’ Organization aim to resume the negotiations with the employers. The goal is not a strike, but it can be the reality by 21st of May, if it is not possible to achieve a satisfying result prior to this date. In the case of a strike, DNO will of course provide an emergency preparedness that ensures the vital and urgent functions in the healthcare system.

 

The historical pay gap must be resolved politically

The nurses' historical pay gap was originally created politically. Therefore, both the public employers and the Danish Parliament must now take responsibility and find a decent solution for the nurses in the Danish healthcare system - and thus make it possible to recruit and retain nurses in the future.

 

Footnotes

1. The agreement leads to general salary increases for all nurses of 5.02% over the 3 years - in addition, there are some targeted funds for the municipalities and regions - read here (In Danish).

2. In 1969, the salaries of public employees were placed in a salary hierarchy with 40 salary steps. The female-dominated professions such as nurses were placed lower than the male-dominated professions such as police and teachers.