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Nordic Workplace Democracy

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Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre

1728 University Place

Glasgow

G11 6PA

United Kingdom

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Nordic Workplace Democracy: Why do Nordic countries have three times more trade union members than Scotland?


Sponsored by the Scottish Government & organised in connection with the University of Glasgow. Introduced by Professor Chris Chapman, Director of Policy Scotland

Speakers:

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir - chairperson of Efling, trade union

Britta Lejon - Social Democrat Minister for Democracy and member of the Swedish Riksdag until 2006. Now President of the ST Civil Servants’ Union

Andrew Cumbers - Professor in Regional Political Economy at the Adam Smith Business School, Glasgow

Chaired by Lesley Riddoch - Director of Nordic Horizons, journalist & broadcaster


Why do Nordic countries generally have three times more union members than Scotland? Obviously, a societal framework of mutual respect, equity, negotiation and compromise helps trade unions thrive, in contrast to the casualised UK where unions have never recovered from the Thatcher period and find it hard to win collective bargaining rights over wages in Britain’s new zero hours society.

Britain’s enduring “us v them” workplace culture also deters unions from seeking involvement in day-to-day management of the workplace, leaving them mostly negotiating wages, terms and conditions in annual deals.

But somehow unions in Iceland and Sweden are managing to go further, bolted into the daily functioning of every workplace and recruiting members in sectors often considered too hard to reach here – especially women, part-time workers, immigrants and casual workers.

In the midst of the on-going dispute over equal pay for thousands of female council staff in Glasgow, Nordic Horizons is delighted to welcome two female speakers whose experience cuts to the heart of that dilemma and the wider position of unionised labour.

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir won a landslide victory to become chairperson of Efling, Iceland’s second largest union, arguing that the union had neglected the lowest paid and foreign workers. Three of the seven board members appointed by Sólveig are immigrants – for the first time in Icelandic history. Britta Lejon is a Swedish Social Democratic politician who worked for the Department of Transportations during 1987-1990 and the Department of Communication in 1990. She was Minister for Democratic Issues in the Ministry of Justice 1998-2002.

Our Scottish responder will be Andrew Cumbers, Professor in Regional Political Economy at the Adam Smith Business School, Glasgow. Professor Cumbers previously worked at the Universities of Durham, Middlesex and Aberdeen as a researcher, lecturer in labour and economic geography. He was formerly Professor of Geographical Political Economy at the University of Glasgow.

This event will appeal particularly to students, union members and anyone interested in women’s activism and industrial democracy – but as with all Nordic Horizons event, all are welcome!

Please book free places early – this event is likely to be a very busy one. It’s also Nordic Horizons’ first event in Glasgow. If you’d like to know more about our eight year history of bringing great Nordic policy experts to speak in the Scottish Parliament check out our website .

NB Our venue - Glasgow University Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre (WILT) – is on the University’s Gilmorehill Campus, situated between University Avenue and Argyle Street, near Byres Road. Please use this link to pinpoint the venue beside the Kelvingrove Museum (where you can park) before you come.

Please check the Nordic Horizons website or Facebook group for any further announcements about the event. We hope to see you there!

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Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre

1728 University Place

Glasgow

G11 6PA

United Kingdom

View Map

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