Publishers push for talks in newspaper conflict

Negotiations between newspaper proprietors and journalists' union SJF are finally set to resume on Wednesday following a period of relative stagnancy.

The Swedish Association of Newspaper Publishers (Tidningsutgivarna) asked official mediators at the weekend to speak to the union about the conditions under which it would accept mediation. The union has previously accused the National Mediation Office of failing to properly grasp some of the issues at the core of the conflict.

But the resumption of talks does not mean that the union is ready to postpone plans for industrial action.

“I don’t think it would be constructive at this particular point,” SJF chairwoman Agneta Lindblom Hulthén told TT.

“We have been sitting here since June waiting for somebody to come and negotiate with us. We have not lacked the will to negotiate,” she added.

In fact, SJF took the opportunity to announce an extension of its strike at Gefle Dagblad, as well as calling a new one-day strike at selected local newspaers in western Sweden.

TU said it was surprised by the timing of the move, coming as it does when the parties had agreed to resume talks.

“The expanded strike action is not a good sign,” said TU’s chief negotiator Björn Svensson.