A dispute is in this instance a disagreement between the apprentice and the employer about the way the apprenticeship is going forward.
Pursuant to the Danish Vocational Training Act the national trade committee must try to resolve such disputes.

As a rule, disputes can be divided into the following categories:

  1. Disputes regarding wages, holiday allowance and similar issues associated with collective agreements. Such disputes are matters pertaining to collective agreements. If the employer is a member of an employer’s organization, that is party to such a collective agreement, such disputes must be resolved within the system applicable to the industry. In case the employer is not a member of an employer’s organization such disputes should be treated as described under section 2.
  2. Disputes regarding the apprenticeship and the apprenticeship agreement – e.g. termination of the apprenticeship agreement, lack of training, issues of absence, psychological working environment, failure to pass apprenticeship tests etc. – must be resolved by the national trade committee. The committee must be informed in writing about the nature and details of the dispute.

The national trade committees in Byggeriets Uddannelser have found that the resolution options described in the Danish Vocational Training Act Section 63, sub-section 1, are best managed locally. It is therefore one of the tasks handled by local training councils.

The apprentice or the employer must therefore contact the local training council through the college, if applicable.

It is important to emphasize that the local training committee only can try to mediate. The council has no mandate to rule in favour of one or the other party.

If a resolution is achieved locally, the minutes of the local settlement meeting bearing the signatures of the parties are sent to the national trade committee.

If a settlement cannot be reached locally, a short summary of the resolution process must be submitted to the national trade committee immediately. This summary must contain a description of the dispute, the claims by the parties and the reason why a resolution cannot be reached. Relevant documentation such as apprenticeship agreements, cancellations, college papers, declarations etc., must be attached.

The national trade committee will then assess whether another resolution meeting should be attempted at a higher level.

If the national trade committee believes that there is no basis for another attempt at resolution or if a resolution cannot be achieved through such an attempt, either of or both parties are be entitled to bring the case before the Disputes Board. E-mail: tvist@uvm.dk. In such a situation, it is recommended that assistance from the social partners is obtained.

If the case cannot be resolved by the Disputes Board, the Board will make a decision in the matter. Such a decision may involve the termination of the apprenticeship agreement. The board may also award compensation to the injured party.

If either of the parties is dissatisfied with the board’s decision, it may be appealed to the City Court or the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court within eight weeks of The Dispute Board’s decision.

Educational responsibilities

When the employer takes on an apprentice, it is important to remember that this constitutes a contractual arrangement between the two parties.

The responsibility for ensuring that the apprenticeship is completed satisfactorily is in legal terms solely a matter between the apprentice and the employer. The apprentice is thus jointly responsible for his/her training, but it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the necessary training resources are made available to the apprentice.

Breach of such an agreement is regarded as breach of contract and may in the final instance result in sanctions against the apprentice or the employer.