Industrial relations in the public sector — Denmark

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 10 December 2008



About
Country:
Denmark
Author:
Carsten Jorgensen
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

This report presents an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector in Denmark.

1. Structure of the public sector in your country

Please provide:

The definition of the public sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered (e.g. central government, local government, health sector, education, others)?

THE PUBLIC sector in Denmark comprises:

  • The state sector, which is in charge of tasks at central level (including central administration, the defence, the police and universities),
  • The counties, which are in charge of tasks at regional level (including hospitals and the upper secondary school area)
  • The municipalities, which are in charge of tasks at local level (including primary and lower secondary schools, child care and care for the elderly)

This pattern will change as of 1. January 2007 when the new Structural Reform is implemented.

The structural reform is the most important reorganization of public sector tasks in 35 years.

The reform implies 1) a large-scale redistribution of core tasks between the 3 territorial levels (state, counties/regions and municipalities), 2) a reduction of the number of municipalities from 271 to 98 and the abolishment of the 14 counties, which have been replaced by 5 regions, and 3) a reduction in the number of territorial levels that have the right to impose taxes from 3 to 2, as the regional level no longer has this right.

Redistribution of tasks:

Changes in the distribution of tasks impact on all 3 levels, but most importantly on the counties (regions) who are left with very few tasks and, in addition, have lost the right of taxation. The counties are handing over large parts of their tasks in the environmental field, which are being distributed between the state and the municipalities. The upper secondary schools, Higher Preparatory Examination and Adult Education Centres are being handed over to the state, whereas a large part of tasks in the social field is handed over to the municipalities. The regions are left with hospitals as their primary task, a few tasks in the social field and regional development.

Employment services are being brought together in a number of centres, which will either be purely municipal or set-up with both state and municipal employees. Till now there has been a sharp division between the municipalities who have been responsible for the non-insured unemployed and the state who - via the placement services - has been responsible for the insured unemployed.

The tasks hitherto carried out by the municipalities in the field of taxation and debt-collection will be handed over to the state, bringing taxation and debt-collection under the sole responsibility of the state. Taxation has traditionally been one of the core tasks of the municipalities and has accounted for far more than half of the enquiries made by citizens to the municipalities.

The definition of the central government sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered?

THE DIFFERENT SECTORS covered - and commonly accepted as main areas – are state administration, the legal system, police, armed forces, diplomatic corps, universities.

The tasks of the state sector break down primarily by the following four main sectors:

  • education, research and culture, etc. (42%)
  • administration (17%)
  • defence (16%)
  • police and legal system (13%)

In addition, there are the remaining large operating areas, Danish State Railways (De Danske Statsbaner, DSB) and Rail Net Denmark (Banedanmark) (7%) and the group of others (5%), which includes the national church.

The State Employer's Authority (Personalestyrelsen) defines the state negotiating sector as the Budget sector plus Other negotiating sector, which among other things comprises the Danish State Railways (DSB) and independent institutions. The Budget sector covers the ministries and agencies with underlying remits.

Thus the terminology in the following concerning 'central government' or 'state sector' will in practice cover the state negotiating sector, i.e. the Budget sector and the other negotiating sector.

The following data:

Table 1. Employment and population
Year Central government Public sector Total Employees (all economy) Total Population
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

98,665

79,368

249,995

586,291

1,309,315

1,223,146

2,662,423

2,721,084

2004

97,132

78,610

249,723

586,869

1,294,275

1,215,414

2,670,135

2,727,505

2005

97,056

79,483

251,240

590,252

1,298,607

1,213,617

2,677,292

2,734,113

Source: Statistics Denmark, Statistikbanken: RASOFF and BEF1A.

Table 2. Central government employment (NA)
Year Open-ended of which part-time Fixed-term of which part-time
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

               

2004

               

2005

               

Please clarify whether central government employment includes: a) school teachers; b) NHS employees; c) armed forces and police; other non-ministerial employees. If data include these groups of employees, please indicate their numbers (or estimated share).

NOTE: This table cannot be made. The following table 2A is the best we can offer. Fixed-term covers a.o. maternity leave replacements, soldiers in the International Brigade and external examiners at the universities, etc. See also 4. for a desciption of a special fixed-term contract (åremålsansættelse). This type will typically be prolonged or end up in a open-ended contract.

Table 2A. Central government employment
Year Full-time Part-time
Men Women Men Women

2003

89,228

68,645

9,437

10,723

2004

86,706

68,285

10,426

10,325

2005

86,073

69,113

10,983

10,370

Source: Statistics Denmark, Statistikbanken: RASOFF.

Please indicate whether fixed-term employment and part-time work are typical of certain organisational areas in the central government sector (for instance, top job positions rather than lower-level occupations) or group of workers (such as employees approaching retirement, new recruits, women, technicians, and the like)

FIXED-TERM EMPLOYMENT is based on special rules in the Civil Servants Act, the Act on Fixed-Term Appointments etc. Statutory civil servants, staff employed on terms similar to civil servants as well as staff employed under a collective agreement may have fixed-term appointments.

It is a characteristic of fixed-term employment that a fixed-term award is granted and that conditions regarding severance pay and job return may have been agreed.

According to the State Employers' Authority, the objective of fixed-term employment is to achieve greater mobility and flexibility and a broader basis of recruitment, especially in connection with the appointment of managers.

Please indicate the presence and quantitative relevance of non-standard employment relationships in the central government sector, and especially of temporary agency work and service contracts with individuals or other non-standard contractual relationships that are important in your country.

NON-STANDARD relationships are not very common in the central government sector – especially not in the Budget sector, which cover all (19) ministries. Temporary agency work in the public sector is mostly limited to the health sector - or in the form of maternity leave replacements.

2. Employment regulation

Public sector vs. private sector.

Do (certain) public sector employees enjoy special status compared with private sector employees?

A GROUP ENJOYS and performs the protection, rights and duties of being statutory civil servants. Their numbers are declining. This is due to a deliberate down winding of the statutory civil servant system. In future, the civil servant groups will be limited to the 'men and women in uniform' (e.g. policemen, military personnel, prison staff and priests) and civil servants at the highest levels. This development has lead to greater conformity between the public and the private labour markets and to a number of union mergers

Do all public sector employees have the same status or are there differences between different groups of employees, as, for instance, between civil servants, clerical employees and workers?

THE MAJORITY OF staff working in the public sector are employed as statutory civil servants or solely under a collective agreement. In addition, a number of staff are employed on civil servant-like conditions and a small number according to regulations or on individual contracts.

If public sector employees enjoy special status(es), please specify:

The distinctive features of (each) public sector employment status, highlighting the main differences with the status of private sector employees (and, if relevant, among the various public sector statuses). In particular, indicate whether such differences involve the rights: i) of association; ii) to bargaining collectively; iii) to strike.

EMPLOYMENT AS CIVIL SERVANTS

In addition to the statutory regulations for civil servants concerning basic employment conditions and pension schemes, there are agreements regulating working conditions for civil servants and contractual staff. Those for civil servants are based on the statutory regulations. Wages for both groups are subject to negotiation between the social partners. There is no possibility of going on strike in connection with the renewal of collective agreements. Civil servants are entitled to pensions under the rules of the Civil Servants' Pension Act. The Civil Servants Act regulate issues regarding official duties, disciplinary rules, and dismissal. If a civil servant is dismissed on grounds of redundancy, he or she shall retain his or her present rate of pay for three years (allowance pay). All civil servants, including police and military, enjoy the right of association, and are fully covered by the Cooperation Agreement and Cooperation Committees.

EMPLOYMENT UNDER A COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

Employment under collective agreements is based on collective agreements concluded by the Ministry of Finance and the employees' organisations. Wage and employment conditions for staff employed under a collective agreement appear from the individual collective agreements and organisational agreements, etc. It is possible to go on strike in connection with the renewal of collective agreements, but not during the peace period. Staff employed under a collective agreement are usually covered by defined contribution pension schemes. The contractual staff – whether based on a collective agreement or an individual contract – are encompassed by similar regulations as those of the private sector. Persons employed under a collective agreement in the state sector are covered by the general labour market legislation

INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYMENT

In connection with individual employment, the basis of employment is an individual contract that is concluded between the employee and the employment authority. Individually employed members of staff are subject to the general labour market legislation.

Employment based on an individual contract is used especially in connection with the appointment of high-ranking managers, where the employment authority finds it expedient to apply a more flexible and individual wage system or is in need of non-competition clauses or special dismissal or premature compensation retirement schemes. This status of employment may only be used in cases where there exists no agreement covering the area, or if the organisation with which the agreement has been concluded gives it approval.

The requirements that must be fulfilled to gain (each) such special status(es): i) pass a public examination; ii) achieve a certain tenure in the position; c) in terms of nationality; d) other specific conditions.

LIKE DANISH nationals, foreign nationals may be employed on collective agreement terms or on individual terms. Appointment as civil servants is only possible provided the employee has Danish nationality, cf section 27 of the Danish Constitution.

In accordance with the rules on the free movement of labour, citizens from the other countries in the EU and the EEA enjoy the same opportunities of employment in positions where individuals with Danish nationality are employed as civil servants. This right applies subject to restrictions that are justified by regard for public order, public security and public health. Thus, , individuals without Danish nationality will be employed on terms corresponding to those of civil servants, cf section 58c of the Civil Servants Act. With respect to pensions, they will also be treated like civil servants.

 The rules governing the free movement of labour do not apply to positions in public administration. According to the practice of the European Court of Justice, this exemption applies only to positions that entail the exercise of public authority and responsibility for safeguarding the general interests of the state or other public authorities.

 In general, there is no requirement of Danish nationality in connection with appointments in central government administration. However, there are exceptions with regard to certain positions within the area of the Ministry of Defence and the Prison and Probation Service.

Central government. Please indicate whether and how this special employment status regulation applies to central government employees.

SAME WAY as explained above. In recent years, there has been a change in the state area from employment as civil servants and civil servant-like employment to employment under collective agreements

Please fill in the following table:

Table 3. Status of central government employees
Year

Total employees

.

Man-years

Status A: Statutory civil servants and civil servant-like employment Status B: Contractual staff under a collective agreement Status C (please replace by the name of the status) - None
Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

156,325.2

41,981.7

13,668.6

50,239.9

50,435.1

   

2004

157,247.4

41,830.0

13,666.1

50,064.2

51,687.1

   

2005

162,352.1

41,555.4

14,605.0

51,786.3

54,405.4

   

Source: StK.The Negotiation Database (Forhandlingsdatabasen, Personalestyrelsen) 4th quarter of the year.

Please indicate the elements of the employment relationship of central government employees which are regulated by:

Specific legislation.

In Denmark, there is a long tradition for regulating labour market issues by way of collective bargaining between the social partners rather than by way of legislation.

Legislation is basically limited to:

  • The right to organise (which applies to all groups and all sectors)
  • The Civil Servants’ Act, which comprises statutory regulations on basic employment conditions and pension schemes for statutory civil servants
  • The Act on Salaried Employees (Funktionærloven), which ensures more favourable terms with regard to notice periods and compensation than those usually applied to skilled and unskilled workers. This act applies wholly or partly to all contractual staff in the state sector who are subject to monthly payment of wages
  • The unemployment insurance funds (which are managed by the trade unions and financed mainly by the state)
  • Health and safety at the work place
  • Special legislation on working time
  • Special legislation on holidays (which confers to all employees the right to a paid holiday)
  • A set of special rules on board representation
  • The Law on Transfer on Undertakings
  • The social aquis communautaire”.

Collective bargaining.

ACCORDING to the civil servants act (ch. 10) wage and other employment conditions (meaning working time, etc) for civil servants is regulated by collective agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the employees' central organisations.

As for contractual staff under a collective agreement all elements such as recruitment procedures, pay, working time, work organisation, labour market pensions, parental leave, certain elements of job security and employment protections (i.e. notification periods in connection with dismissals) are regulated by collective agreements. Social security is laid down in different laws

In your answer, please refer specifically to elements such as recruitment procedures, pay (see also below), working time, work organisation, job security and employment protections, social security.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reform of employment regulation in the central government sector since the 1990s has affected:The status of workers.

SINCE 1 January 2001, appointment as civil servants is confined to special positions that are specified in circular of 11 December 2000 on the application of civil servants' employment in the state sector and the national church. Accordingly, it is typically senior managers, judges as well as police, prison and defence staff that are employed as civil servants. Other groups are typically employed on collective agreement terms.

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

MOST ISSUES are regulated by collective agreements

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

REPRESENTATION is part of the collective bargaining system. Conflict regulation, see below under 6.5.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reorganisation and restructuring in the central government sector since the 1990s, for instance through the establishment of special agencies or the separation of specific bodies and offices, has affected:The status of significant groups of workers.

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

3. Pay levels and determination

Please indicate:

The presence and relevance of collective bargaining on pay in the central government sector.

PAY IS only regulated by collective agreements in the central government sector.

The number and scope of bargaining units on pay within the central government sector.

THE CENTRAL organisations, see below, have established a joint bargaining committee, the Danish Central Federation of State Employees' Organisations (Centralorganisationernes Fællesudvalg, CFU)

Approximately 95% of state personnel, are covered by the negotiating competence of three central organisations. The central organisations are made up of the following:

The Association of Danish State Employees' Organisations (Statsansattes Kartel, StK)

The State and Municipal Employees' Joint Bargaining Secretariat (Stats og Kommunalt Ansattes Forhandlingsfællesskab, SKAF)

The Confederation of Professional Associations (Akademikernes Centralorganisation, AC)

SKAF is a cooperation between three central organisations on their own:

The Association of Public Servant Trade Unions (Statstjenestemændenes Centralorganisation II, CO II)

The Association of Danish Teachers' Organisations (Lærernes Centralorganisation, LC)

The Association of Danish Contractual Employees' Organisations (Overenskomstansattes Centralorganisation, OC)

Each central organisation is an 'association of associations', and each negotiates a central agreement on pay and working condition with the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the member unions. Together they represent 100 trade unions.

Do minimum wage levels vary across the different bargaining units within the central government sector? Are there common minimum wage levels in the whole public sector?

NO, there is only one bargaining unit. There is no official minimum wage in Denmark – neither by legislation nor collectively agreed. However, there is a common wage system based on pay scale points in the central government sector. This wage system is the 'old' wage system, which now only overs 20% in the central government sector. See also later – New Pay

Is there a single job classification system for the whole central government sector?

NO, many union agreements have their own job classification system

Wage levels and wage increases in the central government and private sectors since 2000 (table 4). If there are great variations across bargaining units within the central government sector, please briefly illustrate such variations.

Table 4. Central government and private sector: wage levels and increases since 2000 (average)
Year Central government Private sector
Level € Annual increase % Level € Annual increase %

2000

3529.47

3.3

3870.77

4.3

2001

3708.31

4.7

4135.66

4.7

2002

4000.56

4.2

4213.57

3.7

2003

4114.65

3.4

4370.98

3.7

2004

4227.40

4.0

4409.87

3.1

2005

4396.18

3.5

Approx 4550.00

2.9

NOTE: The figures of the wage level express the average monthly wage in the two sectors. The annual increase in percent express the increase in the hourly pay, which is always used for the calculation of wage increases (2nd quarter of the year). Statistics Denmark, Statistikbanken, LON31, LON02, ILON3, ILON7.

The presence and relevance of variable performance-related pay in the central government sector. Please indicate whether variable pay is particularly relevant in certain bargaining units or organisational areas (for instance, top job positions, officers, or other occupations).

IN 1997 the pay system partly based on performance-related pay, New Pay, was introduced in the public sector. In the beginning it was mostly spread in the municipality/county sector, but in 2005 80% of the state sector employees are on new pay.

Are there any form of “benchmarking” of wage dynamics in the central government sector with other public sectors or with the private sector? If yes, are industrial relations actors involved in such benchmarking activity?

PAY ADJUSTMENT SCHEME

In the Danish state sector, a pay adjustment scheme has been agreed which ensures that the pay of state employees in general and over a long period of time develops in parallel with the wages and salaries in the private sector. The pay adjustment scheme automatically adjusts the central government pay development to the private sector pay development, but subject to a certain time lag.

The key mechanism of the scheme is that pay increases on the private labour market are compared with pay increases in the state sector. In case of a difference, 80 per cent of it will be realised in the subsequent pay settlement period as adjustment of the central government wages and salaries.

If the state sector pay development is below that of the private sector, the state sector wages and salaries will be adjusted upwards in the subsequent pay settlement period. If the opposite is the case, the central government wages and salaries will be adjusted downwards.

The pay adjustment scheme means that the pay development of the state sector in the long term will fluctuate according to the pay development of the private sector. This means that it is the private sector pay development that sets the actual standard for the size of the total central government pay development.

THE ADVISORY council on governmental salaries is a joint committee, composed of employer representatives, trade union representatives and Members of Parliament. It acts as an advisory committee to the Minister of Finance who will normally follow its opinions.

4. Union Presence and density

Please provide information on:

Trade unions which are present in the various bargaining units of the central government sector, their number, affiliation, representational domain, membership, and the sectoral union density (data by gender). Please fill in the following table:

THE MAIN bargaining unit, CFU, represents five central organisation, which represent approx 100 trade unions, which members or part of members are employed in the central government sector. In the following the centralorganisations are presented.

Table 5. Trade unions
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
Women Men

Association of Danish State Employees' Organisations - StK

29 unions representing 71,000 members in the state

Statutory civil servants, white- and blue-collar workers

Danish Central Federation of State Employees' Organisations, CFU

ND

ND

Association of Public Servant Trade Unions - CO II

27 unions representing 34,000 members in the state

Statutory civil servants, white- collar workers, salaried employees

CFU

SKAF

ND

ND

Confederation of Professional Associations - AC

22 unions representing 39,100 members in the state

Statutory civil servants, white- collar workers, salaried employees

CFU

ND

ND

The Association of Danish Teachers' Organisations - LC

9 unions representing 9,000 members in the state

Statutory civil servants, white- collar workers, salaried employees

CFU

SKAF

ND

ND

The Association of Danish Contractual Employees' Organisations - OC

11 unions representing 7,600 members in the state

White-collar workers, salaried employees

CFU

SKAF

ND

ND

Total

160,700 employees/members

-

-

ND

ND

Sectoral union density

91%

Own calculation. It is normally accepted that the central organisations represent more than 95% of the state employees

-

-

ND

ND

NOTE: SKAF means State and Municipal Employees' Joint Bargaining Secretariat (Stats og Kommunalt Ansattes Forhandlingsfællesskab) SKAF is a bargaining unit (or secretariat) between CO II and LC/OC, which SKAF represents in CFU. CFU is the central bargaining unit vis-à-vis the Minister of Finance.

Please provide information on the diffusion within the central government sector of craft unions, professional unions, or unions which are not affiliated to peak associations.

StK represents mostly craft unions, skilled and unskilled workers, and clerical workers. StK itself is a cartel under the umbrella of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO). StK is member of EPSU. AC represents professional unions and CO II, LC/OC represent a variation of mainly small unions of salaried employees (white-collar workers). The police belongs to CO II, while the judges, lawyers, priests and economists belong to AC. Army officers are spread, depending on rank, over AC, CO II, OC and StK. The SKAF organisations, CO II, LC/OC, are affiliated to the Confederation of Salaried Employees and Civil Servants in Denmark (Funktionærerne og Tjenestemændenes Fællesråd, FTF). CO II is member of EPSU.

AC (the Confederation of Professional Associations) is both a central federation and a confederation. AC takes part in CFU negotiations on behalf of its statutory civil servant members, and negotiates directly with the Ministry of Finance on behalf of its other members. Usually, the CFU agreements are extended to the rest of the AC members. The Association of Danish Lawyers and Economists (DJØF) represents AC in EPSU. AC is also member of ETUC.

Are there any formal procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions? If yes, please, briefly illustrate the content of such procedures or rules. Do these procedures or rules affect the access of the various unions to trade union prerogatives or to the bargaining table? If yes, please specify such effects and any possible limitations.

THERE ARE no such rules or procedures in Denmark.

5. Employer representation

Please provide information on:

Who does represent the central government at the bargaining table? Are there specific independent bodies, such as agencies, or negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of political actors, such as ministers?

THE EMPLOYER in central government is the Minister of Finance – at the bargaining table represented by the State Employer's Authority (Personalestyrelsen). The primary task of the State Employers' Authority is to administer the State's general responsibilities as an employer in the area of wages, pensions, personnel and management policy. The State Employers' Authority enters into collective agreements and other agreements with professional organisations representing the employees in the state sector, and provides guidance and assistance to ministries and agencies within its overall area of remit.

If negotiations are carried out by specific independent bodies, please indicate how they are organised. In particular, specify whether there are guidelines or other directives set by political actors and how the tasks of the independent bodies are carried out. For instance, negotiations have to follow specific stages?

THE STATE EMPLOYER’s Authority is responsible for collective bargaining (even though the minister signs the final agreement). Its task is laid down in the 'Letter no 116 from the Minister of Finance of 27 June 2000'. Negotiations with the employees' organisation follow specific stages – starting with the overall framework negotiated with CFU and ending with single negotiations with the unions.

If negotiations are carried under the direct responsibility of political actors, please indicate how they are organised. For instance, do negotiations take place under the responsibility of a single ministry, for instance the Finance Ministry, or are they carried out by a delegation or in a different way?

NEGOTIATIONS are carried out by the State Employer's Authority

Do collective agreements in the central government sector have to pass an ex-post “validation” procedure, for instance to certify their compliance with budget constraints? If present, please briefly illustrate such procedure and the consequences of failure to pass it.

COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS in the central government sector do not have to pass an ex-post “validation”. Wage increases is not dictated in the Budget. The social partners agree on a economic frawork which then during the peace period is regulated by the pay adjustment scheme.

6. Collective bargaining and conflict in central government

Please provide information on:

The structure of collective bargaining and, in particular, the number and scope of bargaining units, both at central (national) and decentralised (workplace and territorial) levels.

THE MAIN AGREEMENT for statutory civil servants is concluded by the Ministry of Finance, represented by the State Employer’s Authority, and CFU, whereas the main agreement for contractual staff is concluded by the Ministry of Finance and each of the 3 central organisations (StK, SKAF and AC), who together form CFU.

Main agreements with other central government employers are concluded by the central organisations or their affiliated trade unions.

In addition, specific union agreements (which cover the members of a specific trade union and mainly regard wages and working time) are concluded by the Ministry of Finance or the individual state institution/company and the individual trade union.

Finally, local agreements are concluded by the local branches of state institutions/companies and the shop stewards (i.e. at the work place level)

The duration of agreements and the presence and content of peace obligations.

THE AGREEMENT in force is from 2005 and will be renewed in 2008. This three-years period, in which there is a peace obligation, is relatively new. Until 1999 the collective agreements in the public sector normally had a duration of two years. The trend-setting large private sector negotiates in 2007, i.e. a year before the public sector. The results from the private sector thus serv as a guideline for the public sector.

The main issues of collective bargaining by referring to the latest renewals.

ALL IMPORTANT issues concerning wage, working conditions, labour market pensions, social issues as further training, pay during sickness, maternity leave, and holidays are determined by collective bargaining. A social chapter contains regulations concerning jobs on special terms (e.g. for disabled persons).Wage is not negotiated as a single, isolated issue.

Statutory civil servants’ basic employment conditions and pension schemes are regulated by statutes. But their working conditions and wages are subject to negotiations between the employers and trade unions as is the case for contractual staff covered by collective bargaining.

Levels and recent trends in conflict.

IN 2005 THE PUBLIC sector as a whole registered 15,000 lost working days due to industrial dispute (compared with a total of 51,300 lost working days – according to Statistics Denmark). The number of work stoppages were 31 (against 534 in all). The only statistics covering the state alone from the State Employer's Authority covers 2002 as the latest year. This year there were 31 work stoppages, involving 1,200 persons and resulting in 706 lost working days. That is well below avagerage since 1993. Most conflicts occurred in the Ministry of Education and Post Denmark in particular. Both statutory civil servants and employees under a collective agreement took part in the strikes, which in most cases were unlawful, i.e. taking place during the peace period and/or against the Statutory Civil Servants' Act.

The presence and main features of forms of regulation of labour conflict and collective dispute resolution procedures. Please indicate whether such rules are specific to the central government sector, or apply to the whole public sector, or are general and cover both public and private sectors.

THERE ARE TWO ARBITRATION systems for all public servants, a disciplinary court for statutory civil servants and an industrial relations court for staff under a collective agreement. The disciplinary court and the industrial relations court are both based on law, but on different laws. The Civil Servants’ Disciplinary Court is based on the Statute relating to civil servants (Tjenestemandsloven), whereas the Industrial Court is based on labour law, and also cover the private sector. Both courts are joint courts based on parity, and the judges who come from the ranks of the social partners outnumber the legal judges.

In Denmark we make a distinction between conflicts of rights (conflicts regarding the interpretation of collective agreements and the legality of industrial conflicts) and conflicts of interest (conflicts that are linked to the process of collective bargaining or renewal of collective agreements).

As for conflicts of interest, in case the social partners cannot reach agreement, the matter can be taken to the independent Public Conciliator (arbitrator), a mediation mechanism established by law in order to avoid strikes and lockouts in the course of collective bargaining. As statutory civil servants do not have the right to take industrial action, this mediation mechanism only covers contractual staff. When it comes to statutory civil servants, the employer has the right to make one-sided decisions

The advisory council on governmental salaries* plays the role of arbitrator in case an agreement covering statutory civil servants cannot be reached.

As for conflicts of rights, the employer or the trade unions may take the matter to the disciplinary court (as for statutory civil servants) or the industrial relations court (as for contractual staff). Dismissals however are normally put before the board of dismissals (as for statutory civil servants) or industrial arbitration (as for contractual staff). Compliance with court rulings is mandatory (source: StK).

* The advisory council on governmental salaries is a joint committee, composed of employer representatives, trade union representatives and Members of Parliament. It acts as an advisory committee to the Minister of Finance who will normally follow its opinions. Ultimately, according to the Statute relating to Public Servants, it is the Minister of Finance who determines the wages of statutory civil servants.

7. Commentary by the NC

Please:

Specify the main issues on the agenda of industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

IMPORTANT issues besides what is negotiated in the agreements are development of competences through training, and gender equality in the administration.

Cover any further issues which are relevant in your country but have not been covered by previous questions.

Provide your own comments on industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

IT IS difficult to specify anything in particular (besides whst is already specified) since the areas of responsibilities will change after 1 January 2007 due to the Structural Reform.

Carsten Jorgensen, FAOS

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