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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).


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.


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.


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.