Technicians see agreement on overtime payment as outdated

The Danish technicians' union, TL, announced in February 1998 that the 37-hour working week with overtime payments may belong to the past. Technicians may opt for a fixed monthly salary without overtime payment.

On 3 February 1998, the Danish Association of Professional Technicians (Teknisk Landsforbund, TL) publicly announced its intention to seek a shift from a 37-hour working week with overtime payments for any additional hours to a fixed monthly salary (known as joblønor "job-salary"), whereby technicians would not receive overtime payments for working more than 37 hours per week.

A survey conducted on behalf of TL in January 1998 shows that one out of four technicians in the private sector do not receive payment for overtime work or time off in lieu, or do so only rarely. This is the practice, even though the provision in the collective agreement covering technicians in the private sector is quite clear on this point: working that exceeds 37 hours per week must be compensated by time off in lieu or overtime payment. According to TL, the survey shows that the collective agreement on overtime payment and time off in lieu is outdated and ought to be rewritten.

The survey shows that among technicians in the private sector, 9% are already employed on a job-salary basis. Although two-thirds of those on a job-salary work more than 38 hours per week, 86% say that they are satisfied or very satisfied. This may, according to TL, be because the average monthly salary for those with a job-salary is 20% higher than for technicians who receive overtime payments.

The public announcement by TL has angered the industry section of Union of Commercial and Clerical Employees in Denmark (Handels- og Kontorfunktionærernes Forbund i Danmark, HK/Industri). HK/Industri is unsympathetic to the announcement of TL's proposal in the middle of the bargaining round, saying that both the idea of "selling out" acquired rights and the timing is deplorable.

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