Corona with Nordic eyes

The Corona situation hits the Nordic travel industry with great force. From optimism a few weeks ago, the situation has turned upside down. Tens of thousands of our members throughout the Nordic region have either been dismissed, temporary laid off or have just disappeared. Insecure employment becomes even more uncertain.

The Nordic visitor industry is simply closed down. No guests means no jobs, and it is impossible to see an end to this situation now. We must probably assume that it takes months rather than weeks before we are back to normal operation.

It is during these times that we get evidence of whether the industry is capable of facing the crisis or whether large parts will disappear with the consequences that we have for our members.

The crisis shows that large parts of the hospitality industry are not equipped for sudden changes. There are few, if any companies, that have equity buffers to face major changes. Some have commented earlier that the financial foundation many of our employers have is too weak. That it has been too easy to start many of the businesses that are struggling the most today. But it is hindsight and it is not expedient to speculate now. However, this should be in our minds when it turns around and we shall re-establish the businesses.

The Nordic governments have been exceptionally generous in their actions towards the industry. There are still many who want more, but the measures that have come, both in size and scope, are large and important, and will provide considerable help to those who wish to continue even after the crisis. In all the Nordic countries, packages have been introduced that facilitate, especially the liquid situation, for the companies. With tax and duty measures, and increased access to loans, many companies should be able to survive a while. However, we want to warn against the fact that some actors are resumes suggestions they have been promoted even before the crisis. It is still the case that everyone should contribute to financing the welfare society, also in the future.

The measures for those who lose their jobs are also large and significant. Many of them are about providing improved living in a time when you are unemployed and that is good. But this will last a good while. Many of the measures do not have the same perspective. We will fight for the measures for those who lose their jobs to last as long as the crisis is a fact. We must not, at all costs, get to the point that it is the lowest paid who take a disproportionately large part of the bill for this crisis. So far it looks good, but the future will show how long the authorities will prioritize keeping the level of support for the individual up.

At some point, we are moving from supporting companies and employees to building the Nordic travel industry for the future. Some of this can be done right now. Through competence measures, contributions to the development of attractions, planning of market initiatives, etc., one can enable the entire travel industry to come back faster and better. It is now that the business policy must take over. This requires political leaders who see tripartite cooperation as an important tool for planning and laying the premises for how we will return.

For us in the Nordic Union for HRCT, it is natural to have the Nordic perspective. Can the Nordic countries be a force where we can jointly create more than what the countries can do alone? Can the Nordic countries make a difference where we benefit from our close cooperation, which no other regions have, and where together we can create growth throughout the Nordic region? We think so. We think it's possible if the Nordic countries really wants to cooperate. Already, Nordic ministers for co-operation and health ministers are meeting to coordinate and inform. Now labor ministers and business ministers should also come together. Within the framework of the Nordic Council, and not least on the basis of the Nordic tourism plan, it should be possible, already now, to start to work in the bureaucracy to develop the cooperation already established for more operational measures.

Take care of each other.

In solidarity

Clas Delp (President NU-HRCT)
Jens-Petter Hagen (General secretary)


Nordisk Union
C/o 3F
Kampmannsgade 4
1790 København V

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+45 88 92 13 63
+45 88 92 13 54
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The Nordic Union for Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourism sector, is an association of unions in Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all of which unionise workers of the HRCT industry. The member unions have all made collective agreements with employers organizations and companies in the NU HRCT.

All in all NU HRCT covers seven unions with a total of about 115,000 members.