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Newspaper conflict intensifies

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16:48 CEST+02:00
Sweden's largest journalists' union has announced new strike measures designed to affect the web editions and advertising departments of a large number of Swedish newspapers.

The latest round of industrial action called by the Swedish Union of Journalists (Svenska Journalistförbundet) is scheduled to begin on August 30th.

All newspapers affiliated with the Swedish Newspaper Publishers' Association (Tidningsutgivarna - TU), with just a few exceptions, will be affected by the most recent escalation of the SJF/TU conflict.

The following terms are included in SJF's notice: no material is to be released to the web that has previously been published in the paper editions; there is to be a ban on all contact with advertisements or advertising pages; no material may be published that has not been produced by a newspaper's own employees.

SJF's move is a response to TU's calls for a lock-out of around 4,000 journalists. TU in turn was reacting to SJF's announcement on Friday that it was prepared to begin industrial action in a bid to secure better conditions for its workers.

When contract negotiations between the parties failed to lead to an agreement, mediators were called in to help find a resolution. On five separate occasions, TU accepted offers made by the mediators. All five offers were however rejected by SJF.

Thomas Mattson, editor of Expressen.se, is not yet sure of the practical implications should the union's industrial action go ahead as planned.

"We're going to have to sit down and analyse the situation. Until then, I can't comment on how this will affect us," he told news agency TT.

He does not believe however that the newspaper's website will have to be closed down for the duration of the industrial action.

"Expressen has been coming out since 1944 and my view is that Expressen.se will continue to come out in future. Although we will of course be affected in the event of a conflict, we are not going to shut down the site," said Mattson.

The editor of Aftonbladet.se, Kalle Jungkvist, said that he has appointed a group of employees to evaluate any effects a strike might have on the website.

"Until we've looked into what this means I can't comment on what might happen," he said.

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