Trade union freedom
In Denmark, pay and working conditions are typically laid down by collective agreements concluded between trade unions and employers’ organizations. This system of labour market regulation is referred to as the Danish model and is characterised by the fact that it is the social partners themselves that determine the rules of the game on the labour market. The philosophy is that the social partners are in the best position to know what the problems on the labour market might be. This means that they will also be the best to find quick solutions adapted to the current challenges on the labour market.
Strong labour market organizations with a high membership rate are a precondition for a system based on the social partners’ self-regulation and this is also the case in Denmark.
“Flexicurity” is a term used to describe the special Danish three-sided mix of
(1) flexibility on the labour market combined with
(2) social security and
(3) an active labour market policy with rights and obligations for the unemployed.
The actual word is a contraction of flexibility and security.
The flexible Danish labour market is strongly rooted in history. The employers’ right to freely hire and fire the employees dates all the way back to the so-called September Settlement of 1899 between the workers and employers. The unemployment benefit system has existed for almost one hundred years.
For further information about the Danish labour market, see the website of the Danish Ministry of Employment: www.bm.dk.
Source: Danish Ministry of Culture, October 2008