Salad bar blockade continues to divide

Friday was the twelfth day of a trade union blockade on Gothenburg's Wild'n Fresh Salad Bar.

The Hotel and Restaurant Union (HRF) plans to continue its strike action until owner Sofia Appelgren has signed a collective bargaining agreement.

“When we talked to her she acknowledged that her workers would have better pay and benefits if they were part of a collective agreement,” Daniel Färm, spokesman for the restaurant union,” told The Local.

“She said she is thinking about maybe joining the employers’ association SHR,” he added.

Peter Forslund, SHR’s regional manager, was able to confirm that he had been in discussions with the proprietor.

“I talked to her and gave her information about our organisation, our issues, how much it costs and what she will get in return,” Forslund told The Local.

“Some of this information was new to her and she wants a few days to think about it,” he added.

Should Appelgren sign up to the employers’ association, her company will be bound by collective bargaining agreements and the blockade will be lifted.

Another alternative is for Wild’n Fresh to circumvent the employers’ association by signing up to a local collective agreement with the trade union.

The third possibility is to weather the storm and adjust to life under a blockade.

On Tuesday the Hotel and Restaurant Union publicly called on four further trade unions to stage sympathy strikes until such time as the proprietor relented.

The unions in question were the Union of Commercial Workers, the Municipal Workers’ Union, the Transport Workers’ Union and the Food Workers’ Union.

“We have done that now. We received a yes from the transport union. With the others I don’t know yet,” said Daniel Färm.

The Local could not reach the Food Workers’ Union for comment. But Sven Lindberg, spokesman for the Union of Commercial Workers, says that he has not yet heard anything from the Hotel and Restaurant Union.

“We will take a decision when it comes,” he told The Local.

The Municipal Workers’ Union on the other hand has already taken its stance.

“We’ve decided to say yes,” spokeswoman Linnea Bergnéhr told The Local.

Bergnéhr did however add that the decision was primarily symbolic, as the union has no direct involvement in the current conflict.

The Transport Workers’ Union on the other hand has agreed to lend its active support to the blockade, calling on recycling company Renova AB not to handle refuse from the Wild’n Fresh Salad Bar. The transport union’s strike action is due to come into force on 22 December.

“Then we’ll just have to get rid of the rubbish ourselves,” Appelgren told Göteborgs-Posten.