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Retail union announces Easter strike

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13:20 CET+01:00
The Swedish Commercial Employees' Union (Handels) has served notice of strike action from April 1st, covering 5,000 employees and affecting major retail chains among the 79 workplaces concerned.

In announcing the strike, the union's chair Lars-Anders Häggström expressed irritation at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) whom he accused of hindering progress in the round of collective bargaining talks.

"The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise continually block free collective bargaining rights," he told journalists on Monday.

Among workplaces concerned in the strike notice are some of Sweden's largest retailers such as H&M, Kappahl, Lindex, Ikea, Ica, Willys, Åhléns and Hemköp at multiple locations across the country.

In addition the strike notice covered several warehouse operations.

Food retailer Citygross, hardware chain Bauhaus, and sports chain Stadium are also affected.

The Ikea stores affected are located in Valbo (Gävle) and Linköping. H&M stores in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Uppsala and Södertälje stand to be affected.

"The notice will lead to fairly immediate disruption for retailers. But from a consumer perspective the impact will not be that great," said Häggström.

The union has not requested sympathy action from other Trade Union Confederation (LO) member groups, but have the full support of their colleagues.

"There was no option for us. We want to secure an agreement before the end of March. We have to get the negotiation process started; thus far we have got nowhere," said Häggström.

The services sector union, which has a membership of 150,000, has called for a monthly pay rise of between 600 and 750 kronor ($83 to $104).

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