The waitress, who was born in 1981, took two weeks off from work last autumn to recover from the operation, which she admits was not for medical reasons. When the ferry company, Viking Line, found out why she had taken sick leave, bosses refused to give her sick pay and docked the time from her holiday allowance.
Now, union bosses are taking Viking Line to the labour court. Documents submitted to the court this week and seen by The Local show that the union is demanding over 185,000 kronor in damages and compensation for lost wages. Of that, 85,000 kronor is for the waitress and 100,000 for the union.
Dag Gustavsson, press secretary for Transportgruppen, the employer’s organization representing ferry companies, says the law is quite clear:
“The Seaman’s Act states that a seaman is not entitled to sick pay if he or she has deliberately caused him or herself an injury. This was a cosmetic operation, and therefore the injury should be seen as self-inflicted,” he told The Local.
According to the woman’s union, Seko, the fact that the woman’s injuries were self-inflicted is irrelevant, and does not believe that maritime law should apply.
“An operation is an operation, and you should get the same sick pay for that whether you work on sea or land,” Seko’s Mats Ekeklint told The Local.