FTF - Confederation of Professionals in Denmark
FTF is the trade union confederation for 450.000 public and private employees, making it the second biggest of Denmark's three main unions and a major actor in the Danish labour market., with its close on three million wage earners. Welfare and growth are the main themes of FTF's day-to-day work.
FTF has many different kinds of members, nurses, bank staff, bioanalysts, policemen, hall managers,actors & physiotyherapists are all typical examples of members of FTF; three out of four FTF'ers work in the public sector. Typical FTF'ers have one thing in common: they all work with people, be they customers, pupils, patients or clients. FTF'ers are on the frontline when it comes to giving citizens good service and solid welfare benefits. They play a major role in Denmark's welfare society. A typical FTF'er has had a short or medium-term training or education and occupies a middle position in society as regards salary and pension benefits. Most FTF'ers are covered by a collective agreement mutually reached with the employers.
The Danish labour market is based on collective agreements between employee and employer organisations. Only in the rare instances where the parties involved in the labour market fail to agree on new agreements on pay and conditions does the state intervene to pass legislation. This model is feasible because Denmark enjoys high union membership with over 80 percent of Danish wage earners members of a trade union.
Individual workers are not members of FTF, but of one of the approximately 74 trade unions or federations which are affiliated under FTF. As an umbrella organisation FTF's role is to support affiliated unions in their ongoing endeavour to improve the pay and working conditions of members. FTF does this through cooperation with employers, politicians and the general public in order to guarantee its members a better working life and an improved level of social welfare. For use in its work FTF collects information, carries out work on analyses and documentation; consultants representing FTF are active on political committees and councils involved in labour market policy and education and training.
FTF was founded in 1952, it is politically independent, working both on the local and national levels to ensure the maintenance of an efficiently run welfare society. FTF's president has been Bente Sorgenfrey since November 2003.
In cooperation with LO (Denmark's Trades Union Confederation), FTF has set up a Developmental Aid Secretariat which provides trade unions in the Third World with general assistance, economic help and expertise.
On the international front, FTF is a member of ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation), TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee) and NFS (The Nordic Trade Union Confederation).
FTFs activities in Denmark
To play an influential role in Danish labour market politics requires specialised knowledge, a wide-ranging overview and major expertise. Otherwise it would be impossible to establish a proper working agenda and exercise political influence on developments – hence the need for FTF to provide expert assistance and engage in political activity on behalf of its approximately 75 affiliated organisations and their members.
FTF represents a united voice – in relation to politicians and civil servants – both on central and local levels.
Knowledge is power and this is why FTF conducts research programmes, carries out analytical studies and produces documentation on topics such as members’ working conditions, psychological working environment, further education and pension schemes. Over and above these activities, FTF conducts economic analyses of such key areas as pay, tax and finance policy as well as a welter of other topics.
FTF uses this knowledge in its day-to-day political work on councils, committees and commissions, in which it is represented. FTF’s consultants participate in these bodies’ work in the preparation of legislation as well as closely monitoring the effect and consequences of new laws in the fields of the labour market, working environment, education, training and social policy.
Among other bodies, FTF is represented on nationwide local employment councils, the Consumer Council, the Danish Labour Market Supplementary Pension Scheme (ATP), the Equal Status Council, the Economic Council, as well as on a plethora of education and training committees.
FTF provides expert help to its member organisations in the form of legal assistance, for example. Among other functions in this respect, it provides lawyers for its affiliated bodies in the Labour Court, ensuring that members get the very best legal support available. Over and above this, FTF runs courses for key officials such as shop stewards and leaders, while its social workers supply member organisations with specialised know-how. FTF is also active in the fields of IT.
As part of its ongoing role of giving prominence to its activities in the daily news flow, FTF publishes Resonans (Resonance) - a net magazine providing members, organisations, shop stewards, the press and other interested factions with news on the latest developments in the labour market in Denmark.