Tripartite talks on the 1998 bargaining round

On 17 December 1997, the Danish Government met the social partners to discuss the spring 1998 collective bargaining round, urging pay moderation to help create jobs.

At a tripartite meeting held on 17 December 1997 to discuss the spring 1998 collective bargaining round, Danish government representatives advised the social partners to keep pay increases at a moderate level in order to stimulate job creation. However, the government representatives were reluctant to specify a precise figure for pay increases, stating that it was not the aim of government to tie the social partners to a certain figure or to intervene in the collective bargaining process, which they regarded as the sole prerogative of the social partners.

The Danish Employers' Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA), argued that lower pay increases in Germany and Sweden meant that Denmark's current 4% increase in pay per year would have to be cut by half in order to maintain the competitiveness of Danish companies. The main trade union confederation, the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO), agreed that pay increases should be kept at a moderate level, but according to its calculations, this meant an increase of the present level of 4%.

Prior to the tripartite talks, LO proposed the replacement of a 1987 joint statement with a new and broader social contract. Whereas the existing joint statement focuses on keeping cost increases lower than those abroad, the proposed social contract would seek to commit the social partners to a broader set of overall policies, in areas such as tax, vocational training and the labour market. DA responded by stating that there was no need to revise the existing joint statement. In a press release, the social partners stated that they were both willing to continue their talks after the completion of the 1998 collective bargaining round.

According to DA, the forthcoming collective bargaining in the private sector will be the toughest for a number of years and it believes that industrial conflict could well break out. Most of the collective agreements within in the private sector are due to expire on 1 March 1998.

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