Polish tunnel builders in Denmark win same pay as locals

Poles working on a twin tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt strait in Denmark have achieved pay parity with Danish workers in a deal struck between unions and the FLC consortium behind the investment.

The Poles held a strike of protest against being paid less than their Danish peers, which saw 300 workers, mostly Poles, halt work on the 18-kilometre road and rail tunnel for a week in late June. The tunnel is planned to connect the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn.

Danish TV channel TV2 East reported that the new collective agreement means workers on the project will receive basic pay of 185 krone (EUR 24) per hour. Earlier, Polish workers had received 145 krone (EUR 19) per hour.

The FLC construction consortium said in a statement that "there existed no difference in the level of pay between Danish and foreign workers."

"We have not taken nationality into account, but the function fulfilled, for example team foremen receive higher pay," Jess Hansen, who led negotiations for FLC, said.

The strike action was supported by Danish trade unions