Bus strike to go national as talks falter

Bus strike to go national as talks falter
Sweden's ongoing bus strike, which came to an uneasy halt on Friday, will resume at midnight on Wednesday in Stockholm and Västerbotten after unions and employers failed to negotiate a settlement.

Peter Jeppson from employers group Bussarbetsgivarna said his negotiators had tried to meet four of the demands set by the Kommunal trade union.

“But they weren’t happy with a single point; instead, they made new demands,” he told news agency TT.

Kommunal for its part said it had offered Bussarbetsgivarna an olive branch in a bid to bring an end to the strike.

“We want an agreement that gives our members working for private bus companies the same working conditions as those working for the municipal bus companies and others on the labour market,” said Kommunal’s chief negotiator Håkan Pettersson in a statement.

Peter Jeppsson said his group had offered last to reduce the “framework period” – the maximum length of a driver’s working day, including breaks – from 13.5 to 13 hours. This would apply to all bus drivers, not just those working in cities, as the group had proposed last Thursday.

Under the offer presented by Bussarbetsgivarna on Thursday, bus drivers would get a 10.4 percent pay rise, as opposed to a 10.2 percent rise under its previous offer.

Kommunal has called for a wage increase of 1,600 kronor per month spread out over two years, as well as the right to at least 11 hours’ rest between shifts.