State-run company chiefs enjoy wage hike

Earnings of the bosses of Sweden’s ten biggest state-run companies rose an average of 36 percent between 2004 and 2008, while employees had to settle with a 15 percent increase during the same period.

In a survey conducted by newspaper Dagens Nyheter, those on the receiving end of the highest wage increases were Swedish Railways (SJ) chief executive Jan Forsberg and outgoing Vattenfall CEO Lars G Josefsson whose remuneration packages increased by 66 percent.

Josefsson was the top earner with a reported 12 million kronor ($1,7 million) salary for 2008.

The 59-year-old, who has been hit with a string of controversies in recent weeks over the sale of the firm’s electricity grid, will step down from his position with the energy giant in 2010.

The Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications refused to comment on the survey to DN.

However, Ulf Adelsohn, chair of the SJ board, defended Forsberg’s salary raise to the newspaper, stating that he was receiving a lower than average salary in 2004 during a period of loss for the company.

Forsberg was promised a substantial raise if he managed to turned around the fortunes of the company.

”We have a brilliant chief executive who has taken us from deficit to profit,” he said.

The survey was based on company annual reports for 2004 and 2008 and includes salary benefits but excludes pension packages in its calculations.

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Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped and between Stockholm and Malmö severely disrupted due to a fire and several electrical faults.

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

“We have problems with all rail traffic south of Norrland,” Peter Jonsson, from the Swedish Transport Administration, told the country’s TT newswire. “The heat has of course had an impact, particularly when it concerns the fire, but we’re not otherwise speculating on the cause.” 

According to the agency, the issues are the result of four separate incidents, a fire south of Hallsberg, an overhead power contact line, which has snapped, and two electrical faults. 

Peter Krameus, a spokesperson for Sweden’s state-owned rail company SJ, said that all trains were being sent back to the stations from which they most recently departed until the faults could be corrected. 

While trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped completely, trains between Stockholm and Malmö have been affected by two problems with overhead lines. Trains between Mjölby and Nässjö and Eslöv and Stehag are travelling onto on one of the two lines now. 

“That doesn’t mean that all traffic has stopped, but it’s going to mean cancelled trains and delayed departures,” Jonsson said. 

So far, 50 of SJ’s train departures have been cancelled as a result of the faults.