* Main employers' association, key union reach 2-yr deal
* Deal for 240,000 workers seen paving way for other unions
* Economist says deal reduces probability of major strike
(Adds details, quotes, background)
COPENHAGEN, Feb 22 Danish industry and key trade
union CO-Industri reached an agreement overnight on a two-year
wage deal, the union and employers said on Monday.
Labour agreements made by CO-Industri tend to pave the way
for other Danish unions to reach deals with employers, so
economists said the deal significantly reduces the chances of a
major strike which up until last week had seemed possible.
The agreement affects 240,000 workers and runs to March 1,
2012, the parties to the deal said.
It provides in the first year for a wage increase of 1.10
crown from the current minimum level of 103.15 Danish crowns
($18.88) per hour and an increase of 1.75 crowns in the second
year, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) said in a
DI is Denmark's biggest employers' association.
Strikes in Europe have hit companies from German airline
Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) to French oil group Total's (TOTF.PA)
refineries. [ID:nLDE61L03V] [ID:nLDE61I1BB] [ID:nLDE61L0D7]
"The risk of a large conflict (in Denmark) has been
significantly reduced as the agreement in the industrial sector
is often an inspiration to agreements in other sectors," Danske
Bank chief economist Steen Bocian said.
But Bocian added in a research note to clients that it could
still be very difficult to reach agreement in the transport
sector. "So it is too early to conclude that we will avoid a
Bocian noted that the deal between DI and CO-Industri was on
minimum wage levels, which provides a guideline, but real wage
growth would be decided in local negotiations.
"Although there are prospects for relatively low wage
growth, there is still a chance of wage growth in Denmark at the
high end seen in international perspective," Bocian said.
He said industrial wages in Denmark's major trading partners
were growing on average by 1.5 percent, so it was unlikely that
Denmark was poised to recover lost competitiveness after years
of high wage growth and modest productivity improvements.
"That said, the markedly lower wage growth will ensure that
the loss of competitiveness will not continue," Bocian said and
added: "That is good news with regard to the development of the
number of jobs in industry."
(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Stephen Nisbet)