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Scandinavian Countries


Based on a tradition of employers and unions supposedly working together to promote ‘industrial peace’ and ‘social partnership’. In fact, collective agreements in Scandinavian countries often contain what is known as a “peace obligation” (in more straightforward language: a no-strike clause).


Norway


In Norway, for example, the “peace obligation” in collective agreements means that strikes can occur only when an agreement comes up for renewal. No ballot is required before a union calls a strike, but 14 days notice of a strike must be given to the employer. The National Mediator can suspend the start of a strike for a maximum of 16 days, in order to allow time for further talks.


Sweden


Similarly, the “peace obligation” in Sweden means that strikes are permissible only on the expiry of a collective agreement, or in relation to an issue not covered in the agreement. No strike ballot is required. At least seven days notice of a strike should be given to the employer and the Mediation Agency (which can postpone the start of the strike for up to 14 days), but a failure to do so does not make the strike illegal.


Denmark


In Denmark, where the same idea of a “peace obligation” restricts strikes to situations where a new collective agreement is sought by the unions, strike action must be approved by at least 75% of those voting at “a competent assembly” of the organisation calling the strike. Notice of the strike action must be given to the employer 14 days before it starts, and again 7 days before it starts.

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