Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 11:44:33 -0800
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Sid Shniad <shniad@SFU.CA>
Subject: Danish workers promoting 35-hour week
Struggles in France and Italy for the 35-hour week are encouraging Danish trade unionists to address the same issue. Inspired by the efforts of workers there, a Danish trade union has conducted a study which reveals that the move to a 35-hour work week would create 40,000 new jobs in Denmark.
The study, carried out by local union of metal industry workers in the city of Horsens, shows that the move to a 35-hour week would lead to the creation of tens of thousands new jobs. This would address one of the crucial concerns of Danish workers as they approach the 1998 round of collective bargaining: securing a significant number of jobs for Denmark's unemployed. The publication of the study is timed to coincide with an upcoming conference for hundreds of shop stewards and union activists in Denmark's metal industries.
Among its results, the study by Metal-Horsens demonstrates that a two hour per week reduction in working hours will have a much greater job creating impact than increasing vacation entitlements by a week.
Workers in the small Scandinavian country are not alone in struggling for the 35-hour week with no decrease of wages. Trade unions in the rest of Western Europe are also raising the question.
Although Denmark's national federation of metalworkers (Dansk Metal) is not currently planning to raise the question of the 35-hour work week in its upcoming round of collective bargaining, the 200 participants in the conference of shop stewards and trade unionists from the country's metal industries are expected to work actively to make the achievement of the 35-hour week a union priority.