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Risk of Easter strike looms

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08:34 CET+01:00
Negotiations between the Commercial Employees´ Union (Handelsanställdas förbund) and the Swedish Federation of Trade (Svensk Handel) employers' organisation have stalled, according to the trade union.

“Our counterpart has not made a single concession in any area but continues to stand by their original proposal,” said union chairman Lars-Anders Häggström in a statement.

The union has called an emergency board meeting for Sunday to decide what measures should be taken.

Among other things, the stalled negotiations increase the risk of a strike during Easter.

“I don't want to anticipate what will happen as it is the board that will determine how we will deal with this,” Häggström told TT news agency.

He says the parties haven't come any closer to reaching an agreement regarding salary or issues related to temporary employment agencies despite six weeks of negotiations. According to Häggström, Svensk Handel has not budged from its original position.

Dag Klackenberg, managing director of Svensk Handel, said the reason the negotiations has stalled is because the agreement on industrial development and wage formation (industriavtalet) has not been finalised.

“It should set out basic guiding principles. This year, discussions have not just been driven by salary levels but also about the future use of temporary employment agencies,” he told TT.

The organisations have thus not entered into legally-binding agreements, but are waiting for a proposal from independent representatives (Opo - opartiska ordförandena) that would be acceptable to both social partners.

“This was the result when we found out this afternoon (Saturday) that Opo won't be able to popose a solution to the temporary employment agency question. We couldn't deliver what the employees' organisation demanded and suspension of negotations was the next step.”

Svensk Handels' negotiators and board will meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the situation.

“We will put the issue before our members next week. What I hope will happen now is that there will be some proposal on how to resolve the issues related to temporary employment agencies,” Klackenberg said.

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