• Sweden's news in English

Unions ordered to pay for Vaxholm blockade

TT/David Landes · 2 Dec 2009, 15:19

Published: 02 Dec 2009 15:19 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The sum, to be paid to the Laval construction company by the Byggnads builders union and the Swedish Electricians’ Union, includes 2 million kronor in court costs incurred by the company, as well as 550,000 kronor plus interest in what the court called “general damages” for carrying out illegal labour conflict measures.

Even though Byggnads didn’t agree with the judgment, the organization plans to abide by the ruling and pay the compensation.

“We abide by the legal outcomes we receive and that’s something we’ve always done. We want everything in order in the labour market and that means following the laws and rules,” Byggnads chair Hans Tilly told the TT news agency.

He believes trade unions must coordinate better, both in Sweden and in Europe.

“We’ve relied on the Swedish model and on solving conflicts between parties. But employers have decided to take legal action instead of negotiate. They put things on a new track,” he said.

The electric workers’ union, which joined the blockade in solidarity with Byggnads, believes the ruling will make it harder for Swedish unions to demand collective wage agreements for foreign workers.

A subsidiary to Laval was hit by a union-ordered blockade in November 2004 after negotiations on a collective wage agreement with Byggnads failed.

The company eventually withdrew from the school-renovation project in Vaxholm outside of Stockholm and the contract it had with the municipality was torn up. Laval’s Swedish subsidiary later went bankrupt.

The Labour Court rejected Laval’s request in 2004 to have the court order the unions to terminate the blockade.

In April 2005, the court found that it could not rule on the case until it received clarification from the European Court of Justice regarding EU and Swedish labour laws.

The Latvian government protested against the Swedish position in the case, viewing the blockade as a violation of EU rules protecting the free movement of labour among EU member states.

In December 2007, the European court ruled that the blockade broke EU rules and that Byggnads went too far in ordering a blockade of the Vaxholm work site.

Story continues below…

According to the European Court, Byggnads had demanded more than what was allowed under the 1996 EU directive governing posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services.

While the Swedish court has now ruled that the trade unions are required to compensate Laval for general damages and court costs, it rejected the Latvian builder’s demand that it be compensated for economic damages.

The ruling wasn’t unanimous, with three of the seven judges dissenting. One of the three believed the damage award should have been lower, while two others didn’t think Laval should be compensated at all.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:16 December 2, 2009 by Flying Scotsman
About time you unions were clipped, they are getting too big for their own good.
20:23 December 2, 2009 by Beynch
Agree with Flying Scotsman. These pathetic, lousy, corrupt, underhanded, uuuuuuunions outserved their usefullness decades ago, and need to be taught a lesson. Crush the political left at the ballot box in 2010.
09:41 December 3, 2009 by S Madison
I agree also with Flying Scotsman. Unions criples the economy. All the lazy people who does not have a backbone is with unions. Why does not union come to the small business owners or any business owners and ask if their members are performing, if they should be cross trained, are there members are being effective workers, instead, they look at their rules (about 100 years old) and dictate to the owners what they should or should not do. They do not work for their members, they just want to make sure that they have enough members so they get their paycheques. If all hell break loose, the union will be first one to get their bonuses and pay and all the members will be left hanging dry! That day will come soon in Sweden and Union, will not exist. We live in a 20th century, people have rights to negotiate with their employee what they should be paid and worth. Why do they need union to tell them? My advise would be remove yourself from the union and save your money instead and learn to fight yourself.
07:05 December 6, 2009 by LazyDog
Fight for them selves yes but don't forget they need a queue number ha ha ha ha.

Oh! yes i agree with the Flying Scotsman to.
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available