Builders’ strike to target Peab

Sweden's builders' union Bygnadds has called a strike with just one corporate target - the building company Peab.

The industrial action is due to begin on April 18th and just 1,000 workers in 46 Peab sites are being asked to down tools.

But despite the focus on one firm, the strike should not be seen as punishing Peab in particular, said Byggnads chairman Hans Tilly .

“We’re thinking a bit differently now. Two years ago we would certainly have taken on NCC and Skanska since they have representatives in the negotiations. We are sitting there at the table talking to them. But we don’t want to punish them just because they are involved in the negotiations,” said Tilly.

“But it ought to be a bit company that has operations over the whole country. And we have chosen to call out sites where there aren’t too many subcontractors. Despite everything, this is a careful strike,” he added.

Byggnads believes that there are three issues which are causing problems with the employers: the demand for shorter working hours, a raise in the basic wage and new negotiation rights.

“This action will be seen as a signal. We want to let people know that the Swedish Construction Federation (Byggindustrier – BI) doesn’t want to negotiate. One day they say in a press release that we are near an agreement, the next day they don’t want to talk. There’s a problem with the truth in their statements,” said Tilly.

BI’s managing director Bo Antoni has called Byggnads the thugs of the union movement – a statement which did not go down too well at the organization’s head office.

“That’s an unbelievable attack. No builder, just because he wants a good working relationship and a good salary, deserves to be called a thug,” responded Hans Tilly.

Peab expressed surprise that Byggnads is directing its industrial action at the company’s sites alone in the building industry.

“We will now have an internal meeting with the guys who were in the negotiations,” said Peab’s head of information, Gösta Sjöström.

“Right now we don’t know what’s going on, it’s as simple as that.”