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Swedes face toilet paper shortage in wake of strike threat

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17:50 CEST+02:00
The threat of a toilet paper shortage looming large over Sweden on Wednesday after a labour union warned it would block deliveries from several Swedish toilet paper factories in a show of solidarity with another union group negotiating for higher pay.

"We're going to block goods from leaving factories in Lilla Edet, Marestad, Pauliström, and Nyboholm," Matts Jutterström of the Pappers labour union told the labour trade publication Dagens Arbete.

The action, which is set to go in effect on April 23rd, could wipe out toilet paper and paper towel supplies in stores across Sweden.

Pappers' threat to stop toilet paper deliveries is meant as a show of support for protracted wage negotiations between the Commercial Employees' Union (Handels) and the Svensk Handel retail employers association.

The two parties have failed to come to an agreement about higher wages, with Handels warning in late March that around 4,700 workers would go on strike on Friday, April 13th if no wage agreement is struck.

The stores likely to be affected by the Handels strike include Bauhaus, Ikea, Lindex, Rusta, Willys, Ica, Clas Ohlson, among others.

In addition to Pappers, the construction workers union Byggnads also announced on Wednesday its members would strike on April 20th in a show of solidarity with the Handels workers.

"It's obvious that we as construction workers must support our wives, girlfriends, daughters and friends in their fight for equal pay," Byggnads negotiating representative Torbjörn Johansson said in a statement.

A mediator has been called in to help get negotiations between the commercial employees union and the retail employers association back on track.

While the union has demanded a 4.5 percent pay raise, Svensk Handel has only offered a 2.6 percent hike in pay.

TT/The Local/dl

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