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Finansforbundet is applying for membership in FH

Finansforbundet is applying for membership in FH. Finansforbundet’s National Congress decided to apply to FH to replace the strategic cooperation between the two organisations with a genuine membership. ‘It’s simply the right solution if we want to best promote our members interests’, says Kent Petersen, President of Finansforbundet.

31. Mar 2022
7 min

167 out of the 190 votes from the delegates at Finansforbundet’s National Congress were in favour of the recommendation from the association’s Executive Committee to replace Finansforbundet’s strategic cooperation with the Danish Trade Union Confederation (Fagbevægelsens Hovedorganisation, FH) with a genuine membership.

‘A very big part of the political influence needed to ultimately create value for our members comes about through community and relationships. It’s a very central part of the work for us in our organisation and no matter how you look at it, FH has proved in a very short time to be a strong and decisive voice for employees in Denmark. This is why we have continually strengthened the strategic cooperation with FH, and now it is a natural next step to also join as a member. I am pleased that the representative democracy in our organisation is united on this’, says Kent Petersen, President of Finansforbundet.

Finansforbundet has not been part of an umbrella organisation for a while but was previously a member of the umbrella organisation FTF.

‘We have been working strategically with FH for a while on the many common political agendas that are important to both organisations. In such a broad community, we don’t agree on everything, and we have of course also thoroughly discussed this, but we also believe that it is better to be sitting at the table than standing outside the door. FH is a strong relationship for us and the right one if we are to make a difference in terms of work environment, further and continuing education, digitalisation and the many other areas where we need to best serve the interests of our members. This is of course the crucial benchmark for us’, says Kent Petersen.

The application must be processed by FH’s executive committee before the membership can become a reality.

Get answers to the 10 most important questions about Finansforbundet and FH

What will the membership actually contribute to?

The membership will strengthen Finansforbundet’s political influence in areas that are relevant to our members.

This applies, for example, to legislation in digitalisation and work environment, where we can make agreements directly with employers, but where the frameworks come from political groups nationally and internationally.

Finansforbundet has also historically been a member of a trade union confederation, because the community has an impact when it comes to promoting the interests of our members through access to political influence, knowledge and collective action throughout the trade union movement.

How will the membership affect members and delegates?

To promote the interests of our members, Finansforbundet seeks influence where we can make a difference.

There are many places where we can more directly influence the conditions in the sector, but a lot of legislation does not specifically have to do with the financial sector, and it is much more difficult for us to make an impact.

The membership will thus make a difference in the long run – but as a member you will not notice it in your daily life right away.

We are of course still the same independent organisation with the same basic positions.

Does the cooperation mean that Finansforbundet has to think the same thing as FH?

No. We are completely our own organisation – and will continue to be – even if we join FH.

In some areas, we will have a greater impact because via FH we can bring up topics and issues that we can discuss together.

The membership does not fundamentally change the fact that we are Finansforbundet, and we have the positions we have.

Does a membership in FH affect our right to enter into and negotiate collective agreements?

No. When we become a member of FH, we will still maintain our negotiating rights with regard to FA and entering collective agreements in the financial sector.

FH does not negotiate collective agreements for its member organisations. Nor will a membership restrict or limit Finansforbundet or the local unions’ free autonomy.

What about independence from party politics?

Finansforbundet always works independent of party politics, but seeks political influence to make a difference for our members.

FH is also independent of party politics. In FH’s articles of association, it is stated under ‘Purpose and values’ in § 2: ‘FH brings together Denmark’s trade unions to create a society of solidarity and democracy with jobs and education for all, quality of welfare and a good work life. FH is independent of party politics.'

Finansforbundet said no to the merger of FTF and LO not very long ago. What has changed between then and now?

With regard to the merger between FTF and LO, we chose to stay outside that, because we found it hard to see ourselves in the structure of the trade union confederation as it was at the time.

The situation is different now in that FH has a very strong position as a large employee organisation in a great number of areas with strong political influence.

FH also looks different today than when it was outlined back in 2018.

What is the actual difference between a cooperation agreement – as there currently is between Finansforbundet and FH – and a membership?

The strategic cooperation in itself grants the right to listen and speak but does give not provide any formal influence on decisions.

The agreement has ensured cooperation on key agendas but not more formal political influence in FH. Actual political influence comes with membership.

What does a trade union confederation actually do?

FH is an umbrella organisation for 64 trade unions with a total of approximately 1.3 million members.

The cooperation essentially has to do with improving working conditions in Danish workplaces by supporting member organisations in various areas and representing employees in tripartite negotiations.

There is also ongoing political work for influence: FH is by far the strongest trade union confederation with the most privileged access to politicians when it comes to promoting the interests of employees in a broad sense.

The same confederation structure exists on the employer side, and the confederations play a crucial role in the function of the Danish model, the organisation of the Danish labour market and major issues surrounding it.

Why is the work of the trade union confederation relevant to Finansforbundet and our members?

In general: Because the community and cooperation provides better opportunities for promoting the interests of the members.

There are many places where we in Finansforbundet can influence the conditions in the sector, but a lot of legislation does not specifically have to do with the financial sector, and it is more difficult for us to make an impact here.

When it comes to, e.g. working from home – and the working environment legislation that applies – or, e.g. digitalisation, we can only agree on framework conditions in the sector a little bit at a time.

Does FH generally deal with interests and cases that are relevant to us?

Finansforbundet works to promote the interests of our members, including within the area of social challenges such as education, employment, digitalisation and job satisfaction.

FH has a greater focus on digitalisation and further and continuing education throughout the entire labour market. There are also important agendas for our members’ mental well-being, including new rules for working from home and a focus on the physical work environment.