Teachers keep summer hols in new pay deal

Swedish teachers breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday evening after a new pay deal affording them a 3.5 percent pay rise over 25 months and securing their long summer holidays.

The collective bargaining round became at times strained as employer group, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), and the two main Swedish teachers’ unions, Lärarförbundet and Lärarnas riksförbund, fought over proposed changes to working hours.

The main bone of contention has been the SKL demands for an overhaul of working hours, vigorously resisted by the unions. Teachers currently work 45 hours per week during term time in return for longer holidays during the summer.

After opposition from the unions the current model will be retained, while opening up for the possibility of further negotiations.

Lärarförbundet and expressed satisfaction over the agreement.

“We have gone from a general attack on teachers’ working hours to securing the current working hours situation,” said chairperson Eva-Lis Sirén.

Lärarnas Riksförbund reacted more cautiously.

“There has been intensive discussions and we have a number of reservations,” said Mette Fjelkner, Lärarnas Riksförbund chairperson.

SKL also expressed satisfaction over the agreement.

“It feels great to be finished and especially that we have reached an agreement focused on improving results in schools,” said Ingela Gardner at SKL.

Aside from the general pay increase teachers will be able to negotiate further gains at local level.

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