Cooperation in the light of Covid-19
While I have recently returned to the NFU secretariat (although not returning to the physical workplace) after finishing my thesis, it feels like decades have passed since I went on study leave in the beginning of March. Since then, a global pandemic has broken out, shaking our society at its core. Not only are the effects on individual’s health and everyday life devastating, but it has also sent ripples throughout the global economy and labour markets.
The workers of the financial sectors are in the frontline during this crisis. The NFU member unions, representing the vast majority of the employees of the Nordic financial sectors, have worked hard and nonstop together with the employers to ensure that essential financial services are available and safe for the public, while at the same time securing the health and safety of all working in the sector.
Providing stability and security also in uncertain times is one of the many benefits of trade union cooperation. The efficiency and flexibility of the strong Nordic model has been paramount in navigating the ongoing crisis. Having an active dialogue between labour market parties provide for a robust recipe on how to traverse the uncertainty and challenges that Covid-19 pose to public health and society.
This has enabled swift action to put in place measures, for example relating to remote work and safety measures in the workplace, which safeguards the health and safety of employees and customers. In addition, the labour market parties in the Nordics are also actively working together to counter the negative economic effects of Covid-19 on business and the workforce, by reaching agreements on short-time furlough, new rules related to unemployment benefits and more, all to safeguard jobs for the future.
Coming together in solidarity is key, particularly in uncertain and challenging times. In March, the European social partners of the banking and insurance sectors released a joint statement of Solidarity, thanking finance sector workers for their continued commitment during this challenging period as-well as reaffirming that the health and safety of workers, customers and the public remains the priority for the social partners.
While the crisis if far from over, NFU are also looking ahead and stepping up to the responsibility of restarting the economy in a post-Corona society. Earlier this month NFU President Michael Budolfsen, together with the Nordic trade union movement, sent an open letter to the Nordic Council of Ministers, welcoming the initiative from the Nordic Ministers for Enterprise on a Nordic post Covid-19 strategy for the economy. As underlined in the letter, the Nordic tripartite dialogue should play a key role in the development of the strategy.
As shown by the current pandemic, it is only by coming together and acting in solidarity that we as a society can overcome grand challenges such as Covid-19. Togetherness clearly is the way forward, although it has to be togetherness at a distance for a little while longer.