By Ebad Ahmed
Copenhagen, Denmark (AA) - Denmark’s biggest trade union confederation expressed serious reservations Friday about the government’s plan to scrap a public holiday to maximize its defense budget.
“This is a blatant attack on the Danish model that we are so proud of in this country,” Lizette Risgaard, the head of the FH confederation, which has 1.3 million members, told a media outlet.
The Danish labor model determines wages and working conditions via bilateral agreements between employer organizations and trade unions in collective bargaining agreements. The FH confederation said the three-party coalition government acted outside the labor model by removing a public holiday through administrative action.
Great Prayer Day, observed since the 17th century, falls on the fourth Friday after Easter, but the government wants to abolish the religious holiday to maximize revenues for its defense budget to NATO’s target of 2% of GDP by 2030.
The government considers it an important target to achieve as regional tensions continue to accelerate due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
“I don’t think it’s a problem to have to work an extra day,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a speech in parliament. “We are facing enormous expenditures for defense and security, health care, psychiatry and the green transition.”
The government is facing heavy criticism for the proposed move as an online petition started by the FH confederation has secured nearly 500,000 signatures, while parliamentary parties, except three that are in government, support the move.
Associations representing military employees and churches have also criticized the plan.