Union threatens blockade of Systembolaget

Union threatens blockade of Systembolaget
A branch of the Syndicalist union is threatening a blockade of Systembolaget in protest what it sees as unfair treatment of one of the union’s members by the state-run liquor retailer.

The blockade, which will hinder the transport of inventory to various Systembolaget stores in the Stockholm area, is scheduled to start on June 18th at 7:00am, just ahead of the busy Midsummer holiday.

”The stores to be affected are going to be totally empty by Midsummer,” said Emil Boss, spokesperson for the DFSA labour organization, to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The union contends that one of their members, a female employee who has worked at Systembolaget for ten years, has been denied the pay raises she deserves, and that younger and less experienced employees now earn more than she does.

”Since the 1980s, Systembolaget has had problems with the connection between job performance and monetary compensation,” said Boss.

The union claims that when it attempted to negotiate a new pay package on behalf of the employee, Systembolaget argued that giving one employee such a significant pay raise would lead others to make the same request, and therefore broke off the talks.

Officials from Systembolaget aren’t worried about the threat, which they believe will simply hurt customers.

”We’re taking this pretty lightly. But to the extent they succeed, it is our customers who will be be affected,” said Systembolaget spokesperson Björn Rydberg to DN.

”The Syndicalists have only a handful of members in Stockholm, so we’ll see what happens. But it’s not like they can block off our stores however they want.”

With respect to the employee at the heart of the dispute, Rydberg asserts that her salary was negotiated within the framework of a collective wage agreement with the umbrella labour organization Unionen.

”According to the agreement this employee isn’t being discriminated against like the Syndicalists claim. Others in the store have a lower salary than she does. This year her raise was larger than the average for all store employees,” said Rydberg.

Nevertheless, DFSA plans to go ahead with the blockade and may expand it to include more stores if Systembolaget won’t get back to the table.

”We’ll be handing out flyers and informing customers about why we’re carrying out this action. It is Systembolaget who is irresponsible, who won’t open a dialogue about their own employee,” said Boss to DN.