A short introduction to Danish trade unions
What is a Danish trade union
A Danish trade union consists of an association of people receiving salaries within the same industry or professional area. Trade unions are part of lager unions (fagforbund, fagorganisation/faglig organisation). They negotiate salary and employment conditions on behalf of their members. Additionally, they recruit and train trustees and give advice to their members with regard to professional and personal problems in the workplace.
Traditional and "yellow" trade unions
A "yellow" trade union, called a “gult fagforbund” in Danish, organizes salaried employees and self-employed workers in the various professional areas into the same trade union and is not part of a central organisation. "Yellow" trade unions also have lower charges than the more traditional trade unions.
If you are considering whether to become a member of a Danish trade union or not, there are a few things that may be helpful to consider before you make your decision. If you get into a dispute with your employer without the support of a trade union, you will have to deal with it on your own. You can of course always get help from a lawyer, but in some cases this may be more expensive. A trade union can also provide advice and support to people who are new to the Danish labour market, and members can turn to their annual salary statistics for each profession. In addition, trade union fees are deductible in the Danish tax declaration (årsopgørelsen).
The differences between "yellow" trade unions and traditional trade unions:
- "Yellow" trade unions do not negotiate agreements with employers
- Traditional trade unions negotiate agreements for their members (salaried employees)
- "Yellow" trade unions organise their members into a trade union
- Traditional trade unions organize their members into different organisations - according to profession or industry
"Yellow" trade unions:
Main trade unions:
People usually choose to become a member of a trade union within the professional domain to which they belong. For example, if you work in the commerce sector in Denmark, you could contact an organisation such as HK Handel Hovedstaden. This is one of the trade unions, which sets the framework for working conditions in shops and the wholesale sector. Before you decide which trade union to choose, it is always a good idea to examine the conditions they offer their members.
Note that a Swedish trade union can never help you in a situation arising on the Danish work market, even if you live in Sweden.
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A short introduction to the Danish a-kasse (unemployment insurance funds)
A-kasser (unemployment insurance funds) administer unemployment benefits in Denmark and offer a range of services to their members. In the following, there is a brief introduction to the topic and links to different Danish a-kasse organisations.