The pros and cons of part-time work is a much-debated topic these days – but can working hours be equated with productivity? Mahmoud, a master of engineering, got tired of wasting time at workplaces with a narrowminded approach to working hours.
In the past, the full extent of sexual harassment at IDA members' workplaces has been hidden behind significant unreported figures. However, spurred on by the #MeToo movement, IDA conducted a comprehensive questionnaire survey at the beginning of the year.
The result was disappointing, but spoke volumes: 21 per cent of female IDA members had experienced sexually offensive behaviour in the course of their work in the past 12 months. The same was true for 6% of male members.
In order to put an end to the violations, IDA has called for legislation to be tightened so that indirect objective employer responsibility is introduced. This means that the employer is only free of responsibility if they can show that they have introduced preventive measures and that a possible violation could not have been prevented despite the preventive efforts.
In addition, IDA calls on management and union and health and safety representatives to work to create a culture in each workplace where it is safe to speak out against violations.
In September, the Danish government presented a reform proposal that would lower the unemployment benefit rate for graduates to DKK 9,500 per month and shorten the regular unemployment benefit period for graduates to one year.
In principle, IDA opposes the proposal. However, with a majority of MPs in favour of the new bill, we instead propose an alternative staircase model whereby the graduate rate is gradually reduced. This would mean that graduates start at the usual rate of DKK 13,821, which is gradually reduced to DKK 9,500 over a period of 3-6 months. At the same time, the regular unemployment benefit period will remain at two years.
"The acceleration reform [fremskridtsreformen] means that the majority of graduates finish their studies at the same time around the summer holidays, when large parts of the labour market are at a standstill and job openings are scarce. This creates a bottleneck, and it is unfair that recent graduates should pay the price for a structural problem," says IDA President Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
In November, IDA, together with a number of trade unions, human rights organisations, and legal associations sent an appeal to all members of parliament to stop the surveillance of citizens in Denmark.
The reason is that the Danish government plants to continue to require telecommunications companies to register and log the telecommunications data of all citizens in Denmark. The data in question shows who someone is talking to, where they are during the conversation, and how long they talk together.
The European Court of Justice has confirmed in three judgments that general and indiscriminate logging of all citizens' phone calls is unfair and in breach of privacy.
This summer, IDA and Aalborg University published a report, which in 87 pages shows the way to achieving climate neutrality in the energy and transport sectors five years before the deadline laid down in the Climate Act.
The report describes how Denmark can become climate neutral by applying technological solutions so that the green transition does not become a major cost for society. On the contrary, Denmark can use the transition to create jobs, economic growth, industrial development and increase exports.
In contrast to the government's hockey stick model, the plan made by IDA and the researchers from Aalborg University aims to reach the target of a 70% reduction by 2030, without depending completely on new technologies.
Unfortunately, 2021 was yet another year with an unexplained pay gap between male and female members. In IDA’s Salary Statistics, the gap was evident when the figures were adjusted for seniority, industry, working hours, and educational background.
If we are to solve the problem and ensure that all employees get the pay they deserve, we have to put an end to pay secrecy. IDA is working to do just that. This year, a study found that only one in five IDA members talks to their colleagues about pay.
This year also saw the successful introduction of earmarked paternity leave for men, which has been an important issue for IDA in many years. IDA is also calling for more workplaces to produce gender-disaggregated salary statistics and share them with their employees. At present, this practice is reserved for workplaces with at least 35 employees and at least 10 people of each gender in the same job function.
IDA has continually surveyed the attitudes of our members and the general public towards home working during the corona pandemic. While a majority respond that they would like to work more from home than they did before the corona pandemic, many have also experienced loneliness and dissatisfaction while working from home.
In the recommendations that IDA has made to employers, the key words are therefore flexibility and participation. For example, see: IDA’s six principles for the working life of the future.
"We need to be as flexible as possible in the working life of the future. We find that those who have already experienced home working would like to make a permanent part of their working lives. And I think that employers should take this into consideration" said Morten Thiessen, President of the IDA Council of Employees.
The OK21 collective settlements were put to a preliminary vote among IDA members in the state, municipalities and regions at the beginning of the year, where 94% of IDA members voted yes.
The settlements provided, among other things, general pay and pension improvements for IDA members in the regional and municipal areas, as well as a seniority bonus for members in the state and in the regions.
Carsten Eckhart Thomsen, Chairman of IDA Public Sector, also welcomed the continuation of the state competency fund and the creation of competency funds in the regional and municipal areas, so that IDA members in all three public areas can now apply for individual funds for competency development.
IDA is very critical of the Danish government’s plans to move a number of educations from the major cities. Education policy should focus on quality and not gamble with the educational sector.
IDA predicts a growing demand for STEM candidates, and the government has set a target through the Technology Pact to train 20 percent more graduates in STEM subjects over the coming years. But when universities are faced with a requirement to reduce the number of places in major cities by up to 10 per cent by 2030, there are likely to be fewer, not more, STEM graduates in the future.
"You have to remember that STEM education requires expensive equipment and strong interdisciplinary environments to reach world-class levels. I fear that this agreement will mean that there will be fewer and more expensive STEM education programmes on offer," said IDA President Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
IDA now has a major task in the new year to maintain jobs at universities and protect both the study and working environment at new and existing educational institutions.
And then a little bonus.
On 15 December, IDA underlined it’s status as an association of 140,000 knowledgeable members in IT, technology, and science by launching the IDA Expert Corps. IDA’s 50 experts will make their specialist knowledge available to a public debate hungry for just that: expertise!
"There is a great need for professional insight that can help translate and explain the issues we encounter in the media and public debate. Lots of topics, whether it's cyber security, recycling, or metro construction, often have a technical or scientific perspective that IDA experts can help put into words," said IDA President Thomas Damkjær Petersen of the initiative, which also embraces expertise in non-technical areas such as the working environment, management and student life.