Journalists’ union calls strike

Swedish journalists' union, SJF, has stepped up action against newspaper proprietors, calling a one-day strike at a number of publications for September 4th.

The strike will initially affect regional newspapers Helsingborgs Dagblad, Ystad Allehanda and Trelleborgs Allehanda. Gefle Dagblad staff will strike on September 5th.

The only people who will be allowed to work at the papers are the editors and those staff on business trips overseas or on courses. Staff on holiday will still receive holiday pay for the duration of the strike.

The strike marks an escalation of the conflict over pay, in which the union has so far chosen limited forms of industrial action such as overtime bans and bans on changing work rostas.

Agneta Lindblom Hulthén, chairwoman of SJF told news agency TT that the strike was in response to the Swedish Association of Newspaper Publishers (Tidningsutgivarna), which she alleged had tried to find ways around the measures taken so far.

“They have tried to get around our measures in a variety of ways in a way which does not follow standard practice on the Swedish labour market, and we must respond to this. If the effects of our measures are not noticed then this could continue for half an eternity,” she said.

Björn Svensson, chief negotiator for the Swedish Association of Newspaper Publishers, said his organization would not take further counter-measures against SJF.

“We note that SJF has chosen to escalate the conflict instead of finding a constructive solution,” he said.

Replying to SJF’s accusation that employers had tried to circumvent the industrial action, he replied:

“If they can’t even say how we have got around the measures it is hard for me to comment.”