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Unions and employers sign collective agreements

Unions and employers sign collective agreements

Published: 27 Mar 2010 09:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Mar 2010 09:18 GMT+01:00

Several collective agreements were reached on Friday during annual wage bargaining between Swedish trade unions and employers' organisations. Among others, the IF Metall union will receive a 3.2 percent wage increase for the next 22 months.

“It is obviously less money this time, but there are other crucial issues that are important for the future,” Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, negotiator for IF Metall, told the TT news agency.

“Without broad union coordination within the Landorganisation (trade union confederation - LO) the question of temporary employment agencies would have never been resolved. Now our members will received wage increases despite the employer's offer (of nothing) and a strengthened right to re-hiring,” Stefan Löfven, IF Metall chairman, said in a statement.

The agreement translates to an average salary increase of 742 kronor per month. Every employee has a individual guarantee that his or her wage will have increased by at least 392 kronor per month by August 1st 2011.

“The cost increases are in line with the rest of Europe and are at the same level as in the agreement for white collar workers,” said Anders Narvinger, head of the Association of the Swedish Engineering Industries (Teknikföretagen). He also emphasized that the issue of the use of temporary employment agencies has been addressed.

IF Metall's chairman Löfven of IF Metall is also satisfied with the agreement.

“There is always a bit more that you might want, but at the same time we need to remember that the industry is in a major crisis and has declined by 20 percent since 2008.”

He called attention to the fact that the auto industry has had an even rougher go of it. Löfven believes that the strengthened preferential right is a major step forward for members.

“We have added six months to what is already statutory,” he said.

Around 7000 white collar workers within mining, steel and metal are also covered by another agreement made by Unionen. They will receive a 3.2 wage increase for 22 months. In addition, .2 percent of annual wages will be set aside in individual accounts for professional development.

“I am satisfied by the agreement,” Unionen chairman Cecilia Fahlberg told TT.

The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers (Sveriges ingenjörer) has also accepted a wage increase of 3.2 percent for 22 months.

However, negotiations between the Swedish Paper Workers Union (Pappers) and the Swedish Union of Forestry, Wood and Graphical Workers (GS) on one hand and the The Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Sveriges skogsindustrier) and the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry (Trä- och möbelindustriförbundet) employers' organisations on the other hand are at an impasse. The negotiations were adjourned on Friday.

“They are not likely to be re-opened before the end of the weekend or at the beginning of next week,” GS press secretary Annette Vahlne told TT.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:07 March 27, 2010 by cbeynch
This is an absolute outrage! Sweden ought not permit these trade unions to continue their stranglehold over the swedish economy, and LO should have its back broken. Statutory this!!!! Who else gets such manna from heaven without doing anything? The entire union movement is a legacy left by the social democrat vermin that Sweden does not need. Trade unions had their place in the 40s and 50s but not in today's Sweden!
18:49 March 27, 2010 by NickM
Yes, the alternative, a society like America or the UK where unions are vilified and pretty much destroyed nowadays and employees have no bargaining rights whatsoever, is far better.
09:07 March 28, 2010 by ameribrit
How about somewhere in between comments 1 & 2. If the present system continues in place, Sweden will end up in an economic nightmare in a few years. Some of the unions in the UK have been vilified for good reason. The present system of "negotiations" is nothing more than thinly veiled extortion threats. When you have a worker that does not want to strike but will stay home out of fear of reprisals from fellow union members there is a serious problem. I know the arguments about "every worker benefits from the union negotiations" etc. The only people that continually reap huge rewards from union/employer interaction are the Union Executives themselves. Just look at the recent (past year) scandals that have the Union movement in Sweden.

Oh and NickM The Union movement is very much alive and powerful in the USA. So much so in fact that the Firefighter/police unions in a few major cities are responsible for the bankruptcy of their cities and the near bankruptcy in many more. Not through the everyday pay check but through unsustainable retirement plans that are nothing more than pyramid schemes. A similar problem is going to rear it's ugly head here in Sweden if we are not careful.
11:39 March 28, 2010 by Streja
Sweden's unions and representatives of the employers have always reached agreements and Sweden has not had many strikes. You can't compare it to the UK or US.
03:44 March 29, 2010 by Davey-jo
Hey we have had the lowest number of strikes ever in UK. Our unions do not pull their members out for no good reason. If you want to be right wing anti-union go-ahead but do get your numbers right.

trade unions are a blessing for the capitalist system they should be welcomed with open arms. How else can a company with hundreds of employees reach an agreement over terms of employment without meeting a collective of their employees? It's a straight business negotiation. How is it an infringement of personal liberty or an "outrage"? I do not understand. Would some of our right wing friends like to explain?
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