The social partners play an important role in Denmark. Pay and working conditions are mainly set in collective agreements. There is therefore no statutory minimum wage. The social partners are also actively involved during the establishment of the wider employment policy.
The collective agreements constitute the underlying pillars of the Danish labour market model. A share of workers - especially in the private sector labour market - are employed on individual contracts.
However, the fundamental principle is that the legislature leaves it to the social partners to set wages and working conditions in the collective agreements.
It is therefore a characteristic of the Danish labour market that there is no statutory minimum wage.
Another key element is the right of the social partners to organize and ultimately the right to launch industrial action.
The social partners are also involved in shaping major elements of the employment policy. This takes place through tripartite agreements and participation in councils and committees, among others.
Another characteristic of the Danish model is flexicurity. The social partners have, through negotiations and together with the legislators, been able to obtain a balance between labour market flexibility and social security. Compared to other European countries, there are relatively easy terms for dismissals. At the same time, the state and local authorities provide social protection and are responsible for leading active employment policies.
EU and the Danish Labour market model
The EU-cooperation opens up to a number of opportunities and challenges for the Danish labour market, and thereby for Danish workers.
The Single Market, for example, contributes to creating growth and jobs. Furthermore, when it comes to health and safety at work and equal opportunities, the EU can contribute to raising the bar across Europe.
However, it is also important to the Danish trade union movement that the Danish social partners’ major influence on the Danish labour market and Danish society is not challenged by EU-legislation and regulation. This influence is crucial in order to safeguard the interests of Danish workers and in order for the trade union movement to participate actively in finding solutions to the challenges facing society - to the benefit of everyone.
In this way, the Danish trade union movement fights to ensure that wage formation remains a national competence, which, in Denmark, takes place by means of collective bargaining.
Another aspect of the Danish model is our cooperation with the employers in areas where we have shared interests or challenges. This also applies when it comes to the EU.