A full 66.7 percent of the members of the Danish Nurses’ Organization voted down a new agreement struck between their union and Danish Regions and Danish Municipalities, meaning a strike could be called as early as Saturday.
“This big ‘no’ shows even more clearly that there is a need for some fundamental changes in wage structures,” said Grete Christensen, the nurse organisation’s chair, who had recommended that members vote in favour of the deal.
“We believe that there is hope [of progress]in the salary structure committee, but the pledges were too vague and unclear for the members to see the same hope.”
The deal comes after nurses in April voted down the first version of the wage deal, launching a mediation process that resulted in a new wage agreement that was presented to members on May 18th.
After today’s vote, regional and local governments have until midnight on Friday to agree a new, improved wage settlement to prevent at least 5,000 nurses from going on strike.
Marianne Priskorn, one of the nurses who voted “no”, told state broadcaster DR that she wanted a salary commensurate to the level of responsibility she had.
“We have had enough, and now we have put our foot down. We have just been through a pandemic where we have really rolled up our sleeves and shown what we are worth,” She said. “We are now going to get punished for this With virtually no wage development over the next three years. It’s just not right.”
Christensen called on politicians to launch more thoroughgoing actions to alter the wage structure in Denmark.
“That is why it is even more important that politicians become clear in their promises to change the wage structure, especially for the female-dominated professions in the public sector, which have a documented wage gap,” she said.
Nurses working on treating coronavirus patients, cancer, children, or psychiatric patients will not take part in the strike, but patients going in for other treatments may be affected.