LO and DA conclude anti-dispute agreement
In September 1999, Denmark's DA employers' confederation and LO trade union confederation reached a framework agreement on the conduct of the 2000 collective bargaining round, with the aim of avoiding a repetition of the major dispute in 1998. The agreement, while maintaining the right of individual member organisations to decentralised negotiations, seeks to to support and coordinate developments. Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour has responded positively to a request from DA and LO to change the legal rules, in order to give the parties five days to renegotiate before a dispute breaks out, where a proposed settlement is rejected by their members, instead of the present three days.
With the private sector's major industrial dispute of spring 1998 in mind (DK9805168F), the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO) and the Danish Employers' Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA), have decided to make joint arrangements for the 2000 collective bargaining round, in order to avoid a repetition of the conflict. The two confederations have thus entered a framework "agreement laying down rules for decentralised (ie sector level) bargaining within the DA/LO area". The so-called "climate agreement", which was presented on 14 September 1999, seeks to maintain the right of the two confederations' individual member organisations to conduct decentralised negotiations, while at the same time committing DA and LO to work resolutely towards a settlement and to try to avoid a collapse of negotiations.
The aim of LO and DA is to advance the course of negotiations, and they have agreed that they will initiate contact as early as November 1999 in order to support and coordinate the 2000 bargaining process. Furthermore, the new agreement states the importance of creating a realistic level of expectations among employees, employers and other relevant social groups about the possible outcomes of bargaining. In creating this realistic level of expectations, it is stated that an important role can be played by the work of various tripartite forums, including the tripartite statistical board.
LO and DA would like to have more time to reach a new solution if a settlement or mediation proposal is rejected in a membership ballot (as happened in 1998). To that end, they have asked the Minister of Labour, Ove Hygum, to suggest an amendment to the rules laid down in the Official Conciliation Act in order to avoid strikes breaking out on the third day after the rejection of a deal, as at present, by extending the period of grace until the fifth day. The Minister of Labour received this request sympathetically and promised on 15 September to seek to change the relevant rules in the Official Conciliation Act to give the parties a little more time to negotiate before a dispute breaks out.