Danish Government Intervenes to End Longest Strike in 50 Years
(Bloomberg) -- Denmark’s Social Democrat government made a rare intervention to end the Nordic country’s longest strike in 50 years after agreeing to implement a previously rejected compromise proposal for nurses’ pay as law.
The strike of about 5,000 Danish nurses since June has resulted in thousands of planned operations being canceled and it will take as much as two years to remove the backlog created during the strike, the government said on Wednesday.
“We can conclude that the parties have not been able to find a solution, which means the government unfortunately has to intervene,” Employment and Equality Minister Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen told reporters in Copenhagen. The draft that needs parliamentary approval, will be put forward on Thursday.
Government interference in labor market disputes is unusual in Denmark, which prides itself of a labor market model where employers and unions agree on work conditions through collective bargaining agreements without any political meddling.
The government expects to get support for the draft from several opposition parties, after two of the parties backing the Social Democrats left negotiations saying they plan to vote down the proposal in parliament.
The Danish Nurses Council had previously rejected the employers’ proposal of a 5% wage increase and raised concerns that the group, who are predominantly female, has been underpaid for years.
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