Now unions are starting to rattle with the saber – political analyst warns of fierce struggle

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No one escapes inflation.

But now it sounds from several of Denmark’s largest unions that wages must have a proper upward trend, as the money becomes less valuable.

This is what union bosses from HK, 3F, FOA and Dansk Metal say, in the wake of Statistics Denmark’s consumer price index, which was published on Monday, showing that consumer prices rose by 5.4 per cent on average on March.

According to political commentator Hans Engell, this is a sign that a battle for wages is brewing.

“Inflation is now being felt directly, and it is being felt by everyone. Consumer confidence in the future is low. The desire to buy is limited, “says Hans Engell.

According to him, Denmark is now in a significantly more uncertain economic situation than we have been used to for many years. It has been many years since inflation has been a real threat to the Danes’ economy, but now it is back.

Good cards for employees

And precisely because it can be felt by everyone, Hans Engell also believes that it has been predictable that inflation would be closely followed by a wage demand.

Has it ever been on earth that workers are reluctant in a situation like the one we have now, with high inflation and low unemployment?

“No, of course not. The unions must also show their justification. They can not just accept that everything is getting more expensive because there is war in Ukraine, “says Engell.

The unions also have good cards in hand, he believes. First and foremost because wages should also rise when prices do.

But also because unemployment in Denmark is almost historically low. In Dansk Metal’s subject area, it is largely non-existent.

Hans Engell recalls that global supply chains have been out of order long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fold up

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Photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen (archive).

“Companies will have to face the fact that they lack skilled labor. Many lack employees, and if they want to retain their skilled employees, they have to pay for it, ”he says.

There have been a number of years in a row of real wage growth for wage earners. Is it not acceptable enough if they now have to accept a period of real wage decline?

“I do not think the wage earners will accept that. There is nothing in the companies’ finances that should speak in favor of accepting a reduction in real wages. “

It pulls hard in the direction of wage jumps for wage earners.

Conversely, he recalls that companies are also being hit by rising prices and chaos on supply chains around the world – a problem that also existed long before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

‘Raw materials and production are also becoming more expensive, so inflation will not necessarily result in the bottom line of companies growing. All supply chains are out of order, and it costs companies, ”he says.

Tough negotiations in 2023

Precisely because both parties have good arguments, and the economic situation in general is uncertain at the moment, the struggle for wage increases is becoming a balancing act for both sides.

Companies need labor that they have to pay for, but employees also have an interest in companies running well and having jobs in the future.

“The unions have been able to find that balance, but it may be more difficult to get the agreements to slide into place in the near future,” says Engell.

He expects the forthcoming collective bargaining negotiations in 2023 to be some tough ones.

“But I do not think it will end in a major conflict. On both sides, they have become accustomed to a large degree of responsibility, “he says.


Source: www.berlingske.dk by www.berlingske.dk.

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