Danish nurses told by court to return to work

Danish nurses told by court to return to work
Nurses outside Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet during a temporary walkout on September 7th. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Nurses who have conducted brief wildcat strikes have been told by a labour tribunal that they must return to work and normalise the situation.

No decision has yet been made as to whether to fine the nurses. This will be determined at a later time.

The Danish nurses’ union, DSU, faced the regional health authorities which employ nurses on Thursday in the labour tribunal court, Arbejdsretten.

That came after nurses at several hospitals recently went on strike — usually for a symbolic period of one hour — in breach of their collective bargaining agreement.

The wildcat strikes are a protest in turn at government intervention in talks between the nurses’ union and employers over a new deal for wages and working conditions, which broke down over the summer.

Thousands of nurses earlier took part in union-sanctioned strikes, before the government stepped in to impose new terms in the absence of an agreement between the two sides.

EXPLAINED: Why has the government intervened in Denmark’s nurses strike?

Striking nurses could face wage deductions or fines of 56 kroner per hour for participating in the so-called wildcat strikes, meaning strikes which breach collective bargaining agreements.

Nurses, many of whom have worked long overtime at considerable personal risk during the Covid-19 pandemic, want a deal that gives them what they feel would be a fairer wage.


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