Swedish military issues foreign duty ultimatum

Swedish military issues foreign duty ultimatum
Sweden's Armed Forces personnel have been presented an ultimatum - accept the requirement of foreign duty or face redundancy.

“We feel completely steamrollered,” said Lars Fresker, chairperson of the Swedish Military Officers’ Association (Officersförbundet).

All Swedish regiments will on Friday report to the Armed Forces Headquarters how many of their personnel have accepted the new employment contract which includes mandatory foreign duty. The contract overs all 25,000 employees.

The staff have until Monday at the latest to decide whether to accept the terms.

Armed Forces’ employers have been clear that the consequences of not signing the contract could include redundancy.

At the Armed Forces in Blekinge in southern Sweden, some 137 people risk redundancy after rejecting the contract, due to the foreign service requirement.

Lars Fresker is highly critical of how the issue has been managed by the military authorities and considers the most serious part to be that members don’t know what it is they are signing up to.

“The details over how often the postings would occur, and possible exceptions regarding having small children, or sickness, are not clear. There is a significant level of concern among members,” he said.

Fresker also questioned why there are large numbers of administrative staff also covered by the new requirements.

“There are groups such as economists, pay administrators that we do not understand why they should be covered by this. Are they going to sit in Afghanistan and pay out salaries,” said Lars Fresker.

According to Per-Olof Stålesjö, director of human relations at the Armed Forces, the uniform contracts are for reasons of solidarity and that all should be prepared to travel, officers as well as lawyers and economists.

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