Swedish cops march in low-wage protest

Swedish cops march in low-wage protest
Hundreds of Swedish police officers marched into unemployment offices on Wednesday and started looking for other jobs in Sweden's major cities in a demonstration against the profession's low wages.

“This is primarily symbolic. Our main goal is to affect our current employers in a positive manner. But I know many, myself included, who are looking at the job market and read employment ads,” police officer Johan Svanestrand told the TT news agency.

Police in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm all demonstrated on Wednesday for higher pay. In Stockholm, around 250 officers at a job centre run by the National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) and perused job vacancy listings.

In Stockholm, a rookie police officer earns a monthly salary of around 21,300 kronor ($3,120), taking home about 17,000 kronor including pay for working during non-office hours.

Officers claim that salaries are too low, creating a risk that experienced cops will start to seek employment elsewhere, according to Svanestrand.

He explained that patrol cars may end being manned by officers with less than two years of experience.

“And that they simply bring in new officers and then spit them out the other end,” he said.

Svanestrand also pointed out that low pay results in decreased motivation to work.

“That extra spark that’s important for all workplaces to ensure that things are really good is hard to conjure up,” he said.

The Swedish Police Union expressed their support for the officers’ protest.

“There has been a growing frustration for some time now, which has become stronger among officers, that their employer don’t understand that police today work under lots of pressure and have a very stressful working environment,” union head Lena Nitz said in a statement.

“This displeasure clearly shows that employers’ staffing policies aren’t working.”

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