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Retail union announces Easter strike

Published: 22 Mar 2010 13:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Mar 2010 13:20 GMT+01:00

The Swedish Commercial Employees' Union (Handels) has served notice of strike action from April 1st, covering 5,000 employees and affecting major retail chains among the 79 workplaces concerned.

In announcing the strike, the union's chair Lars-Anders Häggström expressed irritation at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) whom he accused of hindering progress in the round of collective bargaining talks.

"The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise continually block free collective bargaining rights," he told journalists on Monday.

Among workplaces concerned in the strike notice are some of Sweden's largest retailers such as H&M, Kappahl, Lindex, Ikea, Ica, Willys, Åhléns and Hemköp at multiple locations across the country.

In addition the strike notice covered several warehouse operations.

Food retailer Citygross, hardware chain Bauhaus, and sports chain Stadium are also affected.

The Ikea stores affected are located in Valbo (Gävle) and Linköping. H&M stores in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Uppsala and Södertälje stand to be affected.

"The notice will lead to fairly immediate disruption for retailers. But from a consumer perspective the impact will not be that great," said Häggström.

The union has not requested sympathy action from other Trade Union Confederation (LO) member groups, but have the full support of their colleagues.

"There was no option for us. We want to secure an agreement before the end of March. We have to get the negotiation process started; thus far we have got nowhere," said Häggström.

The services sector union, which has a membership of 150,000, has called for a monthly pay rise of between 600 and 750 kronor ($83 to $104).

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:51 March 22, 2010 by Beavis
Er, what they on strike about?
16:05 March 22, 2010 by hpunlimited
They want 700kr more per month($100USD).
16:29 March 22, 2010 by Rick Methven
Union has asked for 2.6% over 18 months. The Employers have offered 0.6%
16:38 March 22, 2010 by Nemesis
Looks like groceries in Lidl that day.
17:03 March 22, 2010 by soultraveler3
Just from personal experience in the stores here I don't know what the employee union is complaining about.

They already get paid well when you compare them to people doing the same jobs in other countries. Add to that the horrible customer service, multiple 30-40 min fika breaks, nice working hours etc. and it looks kinda silly.

/shrugs
21:20 March 22, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
@hpunlimited:

before or aftr tax?
05:52 March 23, 2010 by Heni
@ soultraveler

We are complaining because the top percent is stealing it all and the rest is surviving on the crumbs of them.

Why cant work be fun and rewarding? Why does it need to be stress and poverty?

You talk about horrible customer service, i say human dignity. You talk about long breaks, I say not long enough. You talk about nice working hours, I say not nice enough.
10:34 March 23, 2010 by DAVID T
It's a retailers paradise in Sweden - we pay the most for our food than any country in europe and we have to make do with crap service, crap quality and no choice -sack the lot of them and start again - go to the uk or the states - they'll even carry your bags to your car
12:14 March 23, 2010 by RadioBob
@Heni

You just don't get it, do you?

Maybe you should go off and experience a real job, with real responsibilities and, yes, even real job stress.

Until then, please read all of the comments and understand what is being said.
13:40 March 23, 2010 by soultraveler3
@heni

Is folding clothes at a leisurely pace or stocking shelves stressful? Lol, not nice enough working hours? This is the first place I've been to where most retail stores close at 6pm during the week and 3pm on weekends. I seriously hope your comment was a joke. Go work in retail in any other country and see how "bad" you have it.

Btw, if you want a fun and rewarding career that pays well how about getting a real education and looking for a real job. You're probably one of those people that expect to be given the world on a silver platter without working for it.

Before anyone complains, I'm not talking down about people who work in retail or have blue-collar jobs. There's nothing wrong with those jobs and they need to be done. I worked retail for a while in high-school and knew right away that I was going to move past that and go to university because I wanted real responsibilites and in turn better pay.
08:44 March 24, 2010 by miau
This strike is just one of many that have recently occurred or will occur throughout Europe. If one steps back and looks at the broader picture, governments and companies are attempting to foist the cost of the the economic crisis--a crisis caused by the speculative and criminal activities of the banks--and the huge government bailouts to rescue them, onto the backs of ordinary workers. Why should we be forced to pay for this?
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