National Day earnings headache for unions

Sweden's second annual National Day holiday may be a welcome Tuesday off work for most Swedes, but many who are working are unsure of how much they should be paid for their day's graft.

Plumbers, for example, could end up entirely without holiday pay.

The fact that National Day is now a holiday is proving troublesome for the country’s union organisations. Bricklayers and carpenters who are members of Byggnads, the Swedish Building Workers´ Union, will get holiday pay, while plumbers may not, since they work under a different agreement, reported Swedish Radio.

In a letter from Byggnads, plumbers have demanded extra holiday pay for Whitsun, as provided for in the existing agreement, even though it is no longer a holiday.

But the boiler and plumbing installers’ employer organisation VVS-installatörerna is not willing to give way.

“There is a risk that the dispute around National Day will end up being resolved in the labour courts,” said the organisation’s Robert Jakobsson to Swedish Radio.

The country’s plumbers are not the only group of workers who do not have an agreement on National Day earnings. Around 100,000 members of the white-collar union SIF, 25,000 cleaners and 20,000 paper workers are also lacking an agreement.

Most unions came up with a preliminary agreement for this year’s holiday, and will establish a permanent agreement in time for next year.