Jump to content

The Danish tradition of trade unions and the Danish model explained

Trade unions

There are many advantages to being a member of a trade union both as a student and as a recent graduate. But what can you use it for and how can it give you new professional input?

The Danish tradition of trade unions and the Danish model explained

Trade unions

There are many advantages to being a member of a trade union both as a student and as a recent graduate. But what can you use it for and how can it give you new professional input?

What is a trade union?

A trade union is a union of job takers, who safeguard their interests.

Originally, trade unions were made up of employees from the same industry or field. Today, there are many interdisciplinary unions, but many people still choose a union based on their educational background or job.

A union can help you obtain the best possible terms and conditions of employment and level of salary when you get a job. You also need to have a contract if you wish to apply for SU (as an EU citizen). Many people think that e.g. working hours are determined by law, however, that is not the case.

Notice that if you contact your union it is not a declaration of war for your employer, as it may be in other countries – unions play a great part in Denmark, and they can help you navigate the Danish labour market.

Trade unions negotiate on your behalf:

  • Collective agreements
  • Salary
  • Working conditions

 

The Danish model

The trade union bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers. These negotiations between the organisations of the employers and the employees are called ”the Danish model”.

It is a good idea to join a trade union while studying as a student member. Student membership often has a range of practical benefits, e.g. cheap student insurances, job seeking advice and reduced prices on books.

What is the difference between a union and an unemployment insurance fund (a-kasse)?

The union is concerned with your legal protection. They help you, e.g., with recruitment and maternity leave.

The unemployment insurance fund (UIF) provides you with an economic safety net, if you lose your job. They oversee the payment of unemployment benefits.

You are not automatically a member of a union if you have signed up for an unemployment insurance fund and the other way around.