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UNIONS

Swedish paper mills mull strike extension

A strike by Swedish paper mill workers that has already cost the industry 510 million kronor ($70 million) could spread to six more plants on Monday evening.

The Swedish Paper Workers Union said a further 2,800 workers could join the 10-day strike that already includes 3,000 workers.

“At 6pm tonight, another six plants with 2,800 workers could join the strike,” Mikael Sterbaeck of the union told AFP.

He added the strike extension could still possibly be avoided as last-minute talks were still ongoing after collective agreement negotiations broke down at the weekend.

Some 3,000 paper mill employees have been on strike in six Swedish paper mills since April 16th, and on Monday morning a seventh plant counting 60 employees shut down due to the strike.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation said at the weekend the strike had cost it more than 510 million kronor so far, and that if the planned extension of the work stoppage went ahead, it would begin bleeding around 100 million kronor per day.

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TRAINS

Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday

Trains could be disrupted across Skåne in southern Sweden on Monday after the SEKO transport union threatened a wildcat strike over an attempt to remove a troublesome union official.

Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday
Arriva, which operates the Pågatåg train network, faces a strike. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The union has set up a strike committee after Arriva, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary which runs the Pågatågen regional trains, offered Ola Brunnström, the union's health and safety official, two years of salary if he took voluntary redundancy.  
 
“For us, what was the straw on the camel's back was the attack on the right to self-organisation, that what they are doing is actually breaking the law,” a member of the new committee told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
 
“Ola Brunnström is a chief health and safety official and he should be protected under the Trade Union Representatives Act.” 
 
Brunnström has denied the offer, but Arriva wants to push ahead nonetheless and is set to meet him, together with Seko representatives on Monday. 
 
According to Seko, the meeting between Brunnström and Arriva will centre on an  email he wrote to other Seko-affiliated staff on October 9th, when he wrote: “We are not afraid of the bosses, they should be afraid of us.” 
 
 
Jonas Pettersson, Seko's head of planning and communication, told Sydsvenskan that Arriva had been trying to silence a high profile union official with a long hisotry of pushing for better safety for the company's employees. 
 
Arriva would only tell Sydsvenskan that they had had a discussion with one of their employees. 
 
Brunnström has in recent months been a vocal participant in a struggle with the company over equipment to protect staff from being infected with coronavirus, over loo breaks, and also over Arriva's moves to unilaterally reduce employees hours and salary. 
 
Pettersson said Seko would do everything in its power to prevent Brunnström losing his job, but said the union could not support a wildcat strike and encouraged its members not to take part in it. 
 
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