Somebody PLEASE teach these nurses some math!! (or at least give them a calculator)

23,000 kroner x 0,0075% pay increase this year x 60,0% after tax
= 100 kroner per month (approximately)


23,000 kroner/160 hours x 0.0075% pay increase this year x 60,0% after tax
= 0.675 kr/hour (approximately)

Yes, a little bit of math to start this blog entry - please forgive my occasionally rational thought process. The outcome of these little calculations is essentially the reason why nurses in Copenhagen went on strike, and remain on strike several futile weeks later.

It's all about 100 kroner per month in salary (after tax) or .675 kroner an hour.

To put this another way: if you were offered 149.33 kroner per hour for a job, but demanded 150 kroner, would you turn the job down!!???

I'm not trying to be clever here, just a bit sensible!

Of course, the nurses union possesses, how shall we phrase this delicately, a questionable level of competence. This opinion, admittedly, stems from the fact that the author's girlfriend was once a nurse, though she gave up that profession some years back in frustration and has never looked back since (a decision which the author fully supported) thanks to chronic understaffing, questionable pay, and barely capable management. Thankfully, she was never a member of the union.

The same nurses union that nonetheless did manage to recently build themselves a rather swanky new headquarters right in the heart of Copenhagen on the waterfront.

Some background on the strike, which continues with no sign of a breakthrough in sight: the nurses union in Copenhagen came up with the idea that nurses should receive a 15% pay increase over the next 3 years. Now, to be clear, I am FULLY in support of this. In fact, I would suggest they should have demanded more.

Here's why:

Most importantly, I genuinely believe they deserve such a raise, which leads to the second issue, which is that the union's demand for 15% and negotiating tactics surrounding this demand were doomed from the start. If they had demanded 20% or 25% then there would have been something more meaningful to negotiate over.

You see, the Copenhagen Kommune had already offered the nurses a 12.8% raise over 3 years. That meant the 2 sides were a mere 2.2% OVER THREE YEARS (meaning a mere .75% per year) apart - or 100 knoner a month each year, or 300 knoner a month after 3 years. Please refer back to the math at the beginning of this post to understand the math behind this calculation.

The Copenhagen Kommune has chosen to be tough, and its the nurses who are getting screwed. They are the ones losing pay - because there is no way their strike pay (which is soon running out) is covering anywhere close to their full salary. And it will take them years to make up this lost salary even if their union succeeds with their demands.

Sadly, the nurses at this point have little to gain whatever the outcome, since there is barely anything on the table to win. Let's hope they come to their senses soon. And this is without even mentioning the affect all of this nonsensical posturing has had on the patients.

1 Response to "Somebody PLEASE teach these nurses some math!! (or at least give them a calculator)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I'm just a dane who likes to read a foreigners view on us.

    The nurse strike has become pretty unfortunate for all parties. What their message should be is "we deserve some recognition for our commitment, skills, working conditions and efforts" but sadly it has been diluted and into distorted into "we *want* a higher salary" and their slogan is "it's about will".

    I think it's poor leadership and mismanagement. Nobody understands the mere 0.75%, but everybody understands that a society where nurses are not getting the respect they deserver, is broken.

    Keep up your posts, they're really interesting (and educational!).

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