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Swedish council draws blood to track alcohol use

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 24 Apr 2009, 14:42

Published: 24 Apr 2009 14:42 GMT+02:00

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While drug tests are not unusual at private companies in Sweden, blood and liver tests on new council employees are considered by union groups to be a step too far, local newspaper Dagbladet reports.

"It is not the business of employers to know what people do in their free time, as long as one manages the job," Ann-Sofie Berglund at public sector employee union Kommunal said to Dagbladet.

But a Sundsvall council spokesperson defended the policy, claiming that the intention is not to encroach on personal integrity.

"We want to avoid employing active substance abusers," Rolf Bergbom at Sundsvall council said.

Sundsvall council's policy, formulated a year ago but recently applied, demands that all those applying for vacancies submit to taking a blood test which is used to detect traces of drugs and/or high alcohol content.

Story continues below…

Several other municipalities in Sweden have begun imposing similar policies, Dagbladet writes.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:53 April 24, 2009 by zeero
all hail communism, next will be to test how many times they're having sex and to make sure that they will be forbidden of having sex during working days.
20:43 April 24, 2009 by Soft Boiled
Where on Earth is Sweden going? Thanks to the Ipred law or should that be iPred law?? Sweden is losing its status as a country with personal freedoms. Wont "we" soon resemble American where we sing about freedom but in reality have very little? Is this the road we really want? I know I dont!

if you dont either, post your comments, say what you think, do it while you still can. Sundsvall you are only a few steps away from nazi germany.
22:33 April 24, 2009 by lungfish
The rights of the individual are suppressed in Sweden. The culture and politics are dominated by the concept of equality for an average ideal citizen and those falling too far beyond the narrow bounds of this concept are treated as criminals. Of course this is fascism on the part of those who unquestioningly assume the right to define an ideal citizen.
14:18 April 25, 2009 by rybo1
Ah!, Good old Swedish, liberal-fascism! Who are the Sundsvall pinheads who have the time to come up with this crap? What's next, a cavity search before you can get a job in glorious Sundsvall?
16:18 April 25, 2009 by wolfen
As each personal an constitutional right is stripped away from the people one by one as in this case,it takes years in courts and money to regain these rights.If an employer wants me to work for him,I will.If an employer wants to dictate to me how I live my personal life on my personal time then there will indeed be a conflict.Stop forcing us to sacrifice our freedom to live free on our time,for your desire to grow rich,and control.We already sacrifice enough of our time for you when we are at work.Leave us alone.
16:33 April 25, 2009 by Streja
How is this communism? I see it as an effect of capitalism where employers dictate their workers' lives.

The union is against it, and I thought every capitalist despised unions.
22:42 April 25, 2009 by Micardo
It sounds a good idea to me. Why should the taxpayer have to support a lot of junkies and alchoholics working for the kommun. Once they are employed the union make it impossible to fire them. If you have nothing to hide and are an honest hard working citizen then you should not object to but support these tests. The union has to much power.
23:08 April 25, 2009 by AugustWest
I think it a very good idea and should be instituted on just about all jobs. I am an electrician and I certainly don't want to work along side someone who is either hung over or still drunk from the night before. My union in the US actually brought drug testing to the work place to show general contractors why they should use union labor over non union labor. Plus look at that alcohalic,brain damaged president,"W", we just had. Too bad he was not screened when he first entered public office and maybe the world today wouldn't be as ficked up as it is.....
05:16 April 26, 2009 by hagbardC
It is a terrible idea. It shows a lack of trust towards employees from the very beginning. Certainly isn't the way I would run a company.

Of course, Sweden's overly powerful union doesn't help matters.
15:53 April 26, 2009 by Streja
EHHH??? Are you blind or do you lack reading comprehension. The union is the body that is protesting against it.
01:41 April 27, 2009 by Coalbanks
What? Communism AND liberal-fascism, all at one & the same time? TOTALITARIAN, perhaps? Actually I can't agree with either description. More likely to be the result of CAPITALISM! After all the capitalists providing insurance to the corporation will be protected by capitalist medical labs doing the tests, right? LOL!!
18:01 April 27, 2009 by Streja
But seriously, some people can't read...you must agree coalbanks.
07:49 April 28, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
This is neither a communist or capitalist attitude by the kommune.

It is typical blöödy Swedish social engineering by the "goody two shoes" of the kommune who want everyone to to conform to their idea of a lagom society.

Testing for any substance abuse should not be allowed except for jobs where the person is responsible for the safety of others like pilots, bus drivers etc..
07:53 April 28, 2009 by Puffin
So does this mean that people with elevated liver values from other causes cannot work for Sundsvall?
08:22 April 28, 2009 by VikingHumpingWitch
So it's some kind of communist-liberal-fascist thing that we can blame on the union, is it?

Jesus H., the quality of this place is sinking rapidly. We did at least used to get members with basic comprehension skills.
10:47 April 28, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
And what does make you believe that just by having eventually high levels of liver enzymes someone is supposed to be alcoholic? Would you please scientifically elaborate it?

I would be highly interested to know the opinion of medical doctors, particularly endocrinologists and psychiatrists treating patients suffering from alcoholism.
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