Both Sweden and Denmark were plagued with strikes last week as workers in the health sector demanded better wages, according to reports on the World Socialist website.
Public sector health care workers in Denmark are striking for the first time in over a decade. The dispute started on April 16th and has grown to encompass nurses, laboratory technicians, nurses’ aides, physiotherapists and day care workers, all of whom are insisting on a 15 per cent increase in salary over the next three years.
In Sweden, nurses began taking action on 21st April when 2,500 workers went on strike. Another 900 joined them three days later. The walkouts have affected all areas of the country with nurses in 40 municipalities affected.
Last month in Finland 12,000 nurses almost quit in order to secure their pay rise. The issue was resolved by an agreement to increase wages by 28 per cent over the next two years.
Danish Finance Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen predicted that the government would be intervening in Denmark soon. “It’s absolutely essential that people understand that they need to restrain these wage expectations. The danger of slower growth is greater if pay demands are too high,” he said.
He said, “If we’re not vigilant and don’t show an intelligent approach to these areas, we’ll lose competitiveness.”
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