The DSR nurses’ union organised industrial action on Saturday 19 June following a two to one membership vote to reject a conciliator's mediation proposal for a new agreement. Earlier this year the DSR membership rejected the main municipal and regional government collective agreement, calling for a higher pay rise for nurses. The conciliation process failed to deliver a result that the membership could endorse and so action involving around 5000 nurses went ahead. The union argues that the health services have been starved of investment and nurses have faced increasing work pressure and greater demands on flexibility. The DSR says that it still supports the proposal for a wage structure committee that was agreed in the main public sector agreement and argues that it could deliver. However, the problem is that the proposal is too vague for members who want more concrete commitments in the short term. In particular, the union wants to see politicians back the need for structural changes to address the undervaluing of female-dominated professions in the public sector.
Nurses take action to win higher pay
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The DSR nurses’ union has given notice that it will extend its strike action over pay to more health institutions around the country and it also organised a national demonstration in Copenhagen on 14 August. Members of the union voted to reject the national public sector collective agreement earlier this year because it failed to tackle the longstanding issue of the undervaluing of nursing occupations. The strike began on 14 June and the union has announced five extensions in advance with the latest one planned for 7 September involving a further 281 nurses.
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
After 10 weeks of action, the strike coordinated by the DSR nurses’ union was brought to an end by government intervention. This means that a recommendation by the conciliation commission will be imposed even though it had been rejected by a large majority of DSR members. The union argues that the government is deaf to the long-standing demands of nurses over the unfair pay structure in the public sector. Some nurses have continued to take unofficial action despite the imposition of a settlement and the threat of fines if they continue. The union says that the focus now shifts to the work of