Minister: Public sector paid too well

The public innovation minister, Sophie Løhde, is talking tough ahead of wage agreement negotiations 

It doesn’t look like Denmark’s 750,000 public workers can expect to see too many wage bonuses for Christmas in the coming years.

Figures from the Finance Ministry reveal that wages in the public sector have increased more than they have in the private sector, much to the chagrin of the public innovation minister, Sophie Løhde.

“The employees are the most important resource in the public sector, and of course they should have decent pay and acceptable employment conditions. But it isn’t good when the public wage development is higher than the private sector for an extended period of time,” said Løhde.

“It puts pressure on the private companies, which are the foundation of our welfare, and the more money we spend on wages in the public sector, the less money there is to strengthen our welfare.”

To this end, Løhde maintained she would be negotiating from that perspective during the upcoming wage agreement negotiations.

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330 billion reasons
According to the Finance Ministry, public wages have risen 1.6 percent more than in the private sector since 2008 – 2.4 percent higher in the municipal arena and 1.1 percent higher in the regional sector.

The figures also unveiled that Denmark spends a whopping 330 billion kroner on wages for the public sector on an annual basis.

Anders Bondo Christensen, the chief negotiator for the municipal employees, was not impressed with the “hokus pokus” numbers, suggesting they are a blatant attempt by the minister ahead of wage agreement negotiations that will commence on January 5 and need to be completed by April 1.