Wage-earners have had to accept slimmed-down collective bargaining agreements and low wage increases, but senior executives in Denmark’s biggest companies have seen their salaries rocket in the same period.
Since 2008 when the crisis hit, outlays for directors at the 16 largest Danish companies have increased by 23 percent – from DKK 358 million to DKK 440 million in 2010, according to calculations based on annual accounts.
This compared to general labour market wage rises of just over nine per cent in the same period.
“The restraint that wage-earners have shown during the recent collective bargaining round is obviously not matched in the executive corridors. That is something that offends people’s sense of fairness and means that it becomes more difficult to get people to agree to small wage rises,” says Aalborg University Labour Market Researcher Henning Jørgensen who calls the development a ‘very unfortunate signal’.
More than 600,000 people in the private sector are due for a new collective bargaining agreement from 2012, with only marginal wage rises on the horizon.