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EMPLOYMENT

Job losses continue to mount across Sweden

The weak economy appears to be costing more Swedes their jobs, as more than 2,400 redundancies have been announced so far in September.

And that figure only accounts for the announcements by large companies which have been covered by the mainstream media.

In addition, there are an unknown number companies who are letting go one or a few employees at a time – a reality which is just as tough and depressing for those affected, but which never makes the headlines.

Exactly how many jobs will disappear altogether won’t be know for sure until figures for September are presented by Sweden’s Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

During September of last year, companies told 2,951 workers they would lose their jobs, a figure likely to be surpassed in 2008.

The current wave of job losses actually started back in August 2008, when 4,045 people from 60 different workplaces were given notice, nearly double the corresponding figure of 2,197 for August of last year.

Several of September’s dismissals may have something to do with people delaying purchases of new cars, boats, and other large consumer goods until economic conditions improve.

Automotive industry organization BIL Sweden, for example, announced on Wednesday it was lowering sales projections for 2008, citing the weaker economy and slower new car sales since the summer.

But the job losses are cutting across several sectors, with Volvo Cars shedding 900 positions and boat maker Nimbus is shuttering its Gotland operations, costing 226 jobs.

In addition, outdoor power equipment maker Husqvarna plans to eliminate 300 jobs in Sweden from a total of 850 worldwide.

And as larger manufacturers’ problems persist, some expect smaller companies which supply the likes of Volvo and Saab will soon announce their own layoffs.

IMMIGRATION

Boys claim woman threatened them with ‘sex or deportation’

A woman who ran a refugee home in central Sweden is under investigation for sexual offences after two Afghan boys claimed she threatened them with deportation if they refused her advances.

Boys claim woman threatened them with 'sex or deportation'
File image of asylum seekers in a Migration Agency waiting room in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The boys, who have not been named, say the woman encouraged them to film her having sex with them, newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren reports.

She then urged them to watch the films and to phone her when they missed her, they said. 

Eskilstuna Kuriren was given access to the films and believes they show the acts described by the boys, and that the woman can clearly be identified. She rejects the accusations.

The boys told Eskilstuna Kuriren they tried to inform social services and the police about what was happening but nobody listened to them.

They then went to the newspaper with their story on the advice of relatives living in another part of Sweden. 

“The boss at the home forced us into it and exploited us for sex. She knew we had to, and that nobody would help us,” one said. 

The boys say they had sex with the woman on four or five occasions, at a hotel and in her own home in the Sörmland region.

On one occasion all three were in bed together, they say, but mostly one of the boys had sex with the woman while the other filmed. 

The woman also offered the boys alcohol, they claim, saying it would help them enjoy the experience and despite them being under 18, the legal age for drinking alcohol. 

They allege that she promised to buy them clothes and toiletries if they had sex with her, but she also told them she would destroy important documents and get the migration agency to deport them if they turned her down.

They also faced sexual advances from other people in the woman’s social circle, they say. 

In an interview with Eskilstuna Kuriren one of the boys says they would be “stoned to death” if they ever went back to Afghanistan and their story got out. 

The boys were recently moved to a home in a different municipality. Local authorities there contacted the police after learning of their allegations. 

Police confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation into sexual offences was ongoing. They would not specify what the alleged offences were. 

The boys say they arrived in Sweden in November after they were urged by their families to flee Afghanistan and seek a better life.