Before, during and after a conflict
Are the wages of public employees too low? Are they too high? Is the paid lunch break a practice that can be eliminated? And so on.
The daily press and the social media are currently filled with debates about the working conditions of public employees.
There is also talk of the risk of conflict. But what does a 'conflict' actually mean? And what does that mean to you?
Below we have gathered the most basic information about the background and consequences of a possible conflict. If you need answers to more specific questions, please contact your trade union representative. You are also welcome to call us at +45 38 15 66 00 Monday - Thursday between 9 and 4 pm and Friday between 9 and 3 pm.
Read the guide in Danish
Is a conflict brewing?
All public collective agreements expire at the end of March 2018. The work to renew the agreements (‘OK18’) is well under way. Unfortunately, the public employers and the employee organisations are far apart, and the negotiation climate is historically bad.
If employers and employees cannot agree on the content of the new collective agreements, it may end in a conflict.
A conflict may be initiated by both the employers and the employees in order to put pressure on the other party. If the employees initiate the conflict, the result is a strike where the employees do not report to work. If the employers initiate the conflict, the result is a lockout and the employees will be sent home.
When can a conflict become a reality?
A conflict will not be initiated from one day to the next, but must be notified at least one month before it becomes effective. In the context of the ‘OK18’ negotiations, a conflict may at the earliest become effective on 1 April 2018 when the current collective agreements expire.
The decision to initiate a conflict may be relevant if - despite negotiations - the parties are so far apart that either the employees or the employers find it impossible to achieve a satisfactory result.
When a conflict notification has been sent out, the conciliation board may decide that the negotiations shall continue with the conciliator as a mediator. The conciliator may postpone a notified conflict for two times 14 days. Each party will then decide whether they are going to respect a possible settlement proposal from the conciliator or whether they are going to initiate the conflict.
Who will be included in a conflict?
If the employees send out notification of a conflict, all organisations under the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) decide which academics will be included. Typically, not all members will be included, but a sufficient number to put pressure on the employers.
The employers’ response to an employee notified conflict may be to lock out more or all employees to make the conflict expensive and problematic for the employee organisations.
Irrespective of which party takes the initiative to a conflict – the employees or the employers - you will be notified by DM if you are covered.
Only members covered by an ’AC’ collective agreement will be part of the conflict.
If a workplace is selected for a conflict, this also applies to:
Who will not be included in a conflict?
- students covered by an ’AC’ collective agreement
- temporary employees
- employees in flexijobs or in wage subsidy jobs
- members with sideline occupation within the areas affected by the conflict.
Some employee groups cannot participate in a conflict. This applies to:
- managers with HR responsibilities
- members necessary for the resolution of the conflict
- members whom the parties agree to exempt from conflict, e.g. emergency services at hospitals
- public servants
- members who are not organised in DM
What about the unorganized or members of the “yellow” unions?
Non-organized colleagues are excluded from a conflict and must show up at work during a strike or lockout. By doing so the impact of the conflict is weakened, and that is why, it is of high importance to organize all colleagues in DM since we stand strong together. During a conflict the most important task of the union representative is to ensure that unorganized colleagues, who show up for work, only are doing their own work and not conflict-based work.
What happens during the conflict?
When the conflict becomes effective, you must leave your workplace. And you must not enter your workplace for as long as the conflict lasts.
If you are included in the conflict, DM expects you to participate in the activities and duties organised by DM during the conflict period, in return for the conflict support.
Financial support from DM
If you are involved in the conflict, you will not get paid for the duration of the conflict. But as a member of DM you are entitled to conflict support from DM in the form of a conflict loan.
We have chosen a loan model, because it is cheaper for the individual members and for the community . This is because it is exempt from taxation.
The joint decision to adopt the loan model was made by our umbrella organisation Akademikerne (AC).
You can loan an amount equalling your wage level after taxes, and after the conflict your DM membership fee will be reduced during the loan payback period – the goal is to ensure that you receive full compensation.
The board of DM will meet on 23 February to lay down the framework for the conflict loan.
Payment of your wages will not stop until April at the earliest, as the conflict cannot become effective earlier than on 3 April.
If you participate in a strike or lockout at the time your vacation starts, you will unfortunately not be able to begin your vacation because the conflict is considered as a legal 'vacation barrier'. In practical terms, your vacation will be postponed with the right to replacement vacation.
If you have already begun your vacation when the conflict starts, you may continue vacationing. And you are entitled to wages during the vacation - even if the wages will be paid out during the conflict.
What happens after the conflict?
A conflict may cease in three different ways:
- The parties agree on a settlement
- The parties accept a mediation proposal from the conciliation board
- The government intervenes and stops the conflict by law
When the conflict is over, you must resume work at your place of employment. All members affected by the conflict are entitled to resume the same occupational functions as before the conflict.