New agreement concluded in the green sector
By the end of March 2005 the social partners in the dairy sector signed a new collective agreement which will run for the next three years. This means that agreements have now been concluded in the entire so-called green sector (agriculture, horticulture and forestry) although it looked at some stage as if an industrial dispute could be foreseen. An unpopular proposal from Arla Foods was withdrawn during the process.
With the dairy sector as the last hurdle all agreements in the so-called green sector were landed on the last day of March 2005. That was at the very last moment as the existing agreement expired on 1 April.
The most important agreements in the green sector are concluded by the organisations that are members of the two central organisations the Danish Confederation of Employers’ Organisations in Agriculture (Sammenslutningen af Landbrugets Arbejdsgiverforeninger, SALA) and the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO). The most important and pace-setting agreement is concluded between the United Federation of Danish Workers (Fagligt Fælles Forbund, 3F) and the association of employers in agriculture, horticulture and forestry (Gartneri-, Land- og Skovbrugets Arbejdsgivere, GLS-A). Both of these organisations are results of mergers that took effect from 1 January 2005. 3F is a marriage between General Workers’ Union and the National Union of Female Workers (DK0410103N) while the employer organisations of horticulture and agriculture and forestry were formerly separate organisations.
3F has also concluded an agreement with the Union of Danish Landscape Gardeners (Danske Anlægsgartnere); and 3F and the Danish Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Nærings- og Nydelsesmiddelforbundet, NNF) and the Union of Salaried Employees (Dansk Funktionærforbund, DFF) have concluded an agreement in the dairy sector with the Danish Dairy Employers’ Association (Mejeribrugets Arbejdsgiverforening). NNF has also concluded a two-year agreement for slaughterhouse workers in the retail and industrial sector with the Employers’ Association of Danish Butchers (Danske Håndværksslagtere).
The agreements in the green sector will run for a three-year period and comprises the following elements:
- An increase of the hourly wage by just over DKK 8, or 9%, over the three-year period (EUR 1.1).
- An increase of the pension contribution by 1.65% over the three-year period.
- All bonuses, allowances and increments will be raised by 3% each year.
- Full wage for one week in connection with hospitalisation of a child.
- Pay during maternity will be extended to four weeks before the expected dated of birth.
- New sector agreements concerning equalisation schemes in connection with pregnancy and maternity.
- Higher wages to apprentices and trainees.
- New training fund for maintenance of jobs and upgrading of skills.
At a point of time it looked as if an industrial dispute could be foreseen in the dairy sector; but on 31 March the Official Conciliator postponed the dispute for 14 days. Over the following night the two sides reached agreement on the last outstanding details. In the new agreement wages have been raised so that they are now in line with other agreements in the green sector. The pay packet of skilled workers will be a bit heavier. And workers who are working on New Year’s Eve are given half day off from work in compensation.
The agreement is particularly favourable for dairy products delivery drivers. The agreement gives a guarantee against continued outsourcing of the jobs of dairy products delivery drivers in the future and the conspicuous demand from diary group Arla Foods for a decrease in the hourly wage of DKK 7.04 for dairy products delivery drivers was ultimately withdrawn.
The members of 3F accepted the agreement in a ballot with a great majority. The turn-out, however, was only 27%.
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