AAU Career

trade unions

A trade union can help you e.g. negotiate your salary and in legal matters, e.g. if you are being terminated.

You can become a member of a trade union already while studying and enjoy the many benefits throughout your time as a student.

➡ Here, we will explain to you the Danish tradition of trade unions and the Danish model.

What can a trade union do for me?

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    What is a trade union?

    A trade union is a union of job takers, who safeguard their interests.

    Originally, trade unions were made up of employees from the same industry or field. Today, there are many interdisciplinary unions, but many people still choose a union based on their educational background or job.

    A union can help you obtain the best possible terms and conditions of employment and level of salary when you get a job. You also need to have a contract if you wish to apply for SU (as an EU citizen). Many people think that e.g. working hours are determined by law, however, that is not the case.

    Notice that if you contact your union it is not a declaration of war for your employer, as it may be in other countries – unions play a great part in Denmark, and they can help you navigate the Danish labour market.


    Trade unions negotiate on your behalf:

    • Collective agreements
    • Salary
    • Working conditions


    The Danish Model

    The trade union bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers. These negotiations between the organisations of the employers and the employees are called ”the Danish model”.


    What is the difference between a union and an unemployment insurance fund (a-kasse)?

    The union is concerned with your legal protection. They help you, e.g., with recruitment and maternity leave.

    The unemployment insurance fund provides you with an economic safety net, if you lose your job. They oversee the payment of unemployment benefits.

    You are not automatically a member of a union if you have signed up for an unemployment insurance fund and the other way around.


    Read more about UIFs (a-kasser)

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    How can the trade union help me?

    Most unions provide among other things:

    • Checking your contract of employment to ensure you get the best conditions possible
    • Help you with career guidance, development and continuing education.
    • Advise you about wage negotiations, if you get new qualifications or are given new tasks that qualify you for a raise.
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    Do they provide legal counselling?

    The trade union can also provide legal counsel, if you should need it. E.g.:

    • In a conflict situation with your employer
    • If you get fired
    • If your employer goes bankrupt
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    Should I become a member while studying?

    You choose yourself whether you wish to be a member of a trade union, and which union you choose.

    You can become a member as a student or after graduation. A student membership is usually for free.

    It is a good idea to join a trade union while studying. Most trade unions offer you the opportunity for a student membership. Student membership often has a range of practical benefits, e.g. cheap student insurances, job seeking advice and reduced prices on books. Even though you are still studying you are entitled to legal counselling, for instance in case you get fired from your student job.

    Make sure that the trade union has English speaking consultants and activities in English.

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    AAU Career collaborates with the following unions

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