Collective agreements are agreements between trade unions and employer organizations or individual companies. These agreements often take up more than 100 pages, and have rules for what your contract should look like, working hours, overtime pay, minimum wage per hour, pension, work clothes, pay during illness, pay during paternity leave, result pay (Akkord), cooperation between employers and workers, conditions for students and much much more.
The collective agreement covers everyone who works in the company
The collective agreements are owned by the unions and thereby by the members of the union, but the collective agreement covers everyone who works in the company that has entered into the agreement, regardless of whether they are members of the union or not. About 80% of all workers in Denmark are covered by a collective agreement.
The union will fight to get a collective agreement
If a company does not want to sign a collective agreement with a union, then the union can start a conflict with the company. Members of the union working in the company are allowed to strike, and members of the union working with the company can stop cooperating. This may mean that the garbage man no longer picks up the garbage, or that the truck with materials does not arrive with the materials. Fortunately, most companies sign collective agreements without problems, and about 75% of all companies in Denmark have signed a collective agreement.
There are the same rules for all nationalities
The Danish collective agreements apply to everyone working in construction, regardless of which country the companies or the workers come from, and the union will demand a collective agreement from all companies that we meet on a construction site in Denmark. We do this because the collective agreements set a limit to how badly companies can pay their workers. It ensures that competition for work, between companies, does not drive wages down where we can no longer make a living from it in Denmark.
If you are in doubt about whether your company has a collective agreement, contact the union. We will inform you if there is a collective agreement even if you are not a member.
The union will fight for the agreement to be complied with
Once the collective agreement has been signed, the union will do all we can to ensure that the agreement is also complied with. However the union has a hard time securing this without active members, and therefore it is crucial for our working conditions that everyone join the union, and join the fight for better working conditions. You can read about the union here: https://tema.3f.dk/bjmfimmigrant/about-the-union
You can read more about what to do if you think your collective agreement is being broken here: https://tema.3f.dk/da/bjmfimmigrant/wages-and-working-hours/the-collective-agreement-in-denmark/has-the-collective-agreement-been-broken
There are many different collective agreements
The Danish collective agreements apply to everyone working in construction. However there are many different collective agreements for each branch. One for masons, one for carpenters, one for roofing, one for insulation, one for concrete construction and so on. It can be confusing and difficult to choose the right one, especially when you are working both as a carpenter and a painter, for example. The union will of course help its members find out which collective agreement they belong to, and teach them what the text in the agreement means.
You can read the collective agreements that have been translated into English here: https://tema.3f.dk/bjmfimmigrant/documents/collecticve-agreements
The collective agreements are renegotiated, every third or fourth year
The collective agreements are renegotiated, every third or fourth year. If the unions and the employers' organizations do not succeed in agreeing, then there will be conflict where hundreds of thousands of workers will go on strike. That last happened in 1998, and we got the 5 extra vacation days (FF days), in addition to the five weeks regular vacation. You can read about the right to strike here: https://tema.3f.dk/da/bjmfimmigrant/wages-and-working-hours/the-collective-agreement-in-denmark/are-you-allowed-to-strike
The collective agreements are more than 100 years old
This system of regulating wages and working conditions in Denmark via the collective agreements is well over 100 years old, and is older than the general right to vote and democracy in Denmark. You can read more about our history here: https://tema.3f.dk/bjmfimmigrant/about-the-union/a-brief-history-of-the-danish-workers-movement