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UNION

Wage deal keeps Sweden airport buses running

A planned solidarity strike by drivers of airport buses in Sweden has been called off after a public sector healthcare union reached a new wage agreement.

Wage deal keeps Sweden airport buses running

Drivers of the Flygbussarna airport buses in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, as well as flight transfer bus lines Arlanda-Västerås and Arlanda-Stockholm threatened to leave air travelers stranded on Monday afternoon if the Kommunal health workers union was unable to strike a deal with the Association of Private Care Providers (Vårdföretagarna).

The planned strike was to be called out of solidarity for fellow Kommunal union-members who were negotiating for increased pay.

But late on Monday afternoon, the health care workers reached a new wage agreement where privately employed personal care assistants would receive a 3.3 percent wage increase effective for the next 15 months, according to Kommunal spokesperson Dan Lundqvist Dahlin.

The agreement, which is retroactive to March 1st of this year and extends to May 31st, 2013, also includes a number of other measures affecting employment conditions for care assistants, including a minimum salary and a two week notice period.

“The notice period applies to both employers and workers and is an improvement over current conditions whereby working hours can vary from day to day,” Inga-Kari Fryklund of the Association of Private Care Providers told TT.

In light of the agreement, the threat of a health workers’ strike has been averted, as has the threat of a solidarity strike by airport bus drivers.

TT/The Local/dl

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TRAINS

Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday

Trains could be disrupted across Skåne in southern Sweden on Monday after the SEKO transport union threatened a wildcat strike over an attempt to remove a troublesome union official.

Train staff threaten wildcat strike in Skåne on Monday
Arriva, which operates the Pågatåg train network, faces a strike. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The union has set up a strike committee after Arriva, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary which runs the Pågatågen regional trains, offered Ola Brunnström, the union's health and safety official, two years of salary if he took voluntary redundancy.  
 
“For us, what was the straw on the camel's back was the attack on the right to self-organisation, that what they are doing is actually breaking the law,” a member of the new committee told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
 
“Ola Brunnström is a chief health and safety official and he should be protected under the Trade Union Representatives Act.” 
 
Brunnström has denied the offer, but Arriva wants to push ahead nonetheless and is set to meet him, together with Seko representatives on Monday. 
 
According to Seko, the meeting between Brunnström and Arriva will centre on an  email he wrote to other Seko-affiliated staff on October 9th, when he wrote: “We are not afraid of the bosses, they should be afraid of us.” 
 
 
Jonas Pettersson, Seko's head of planning and communication, told Sydsvenskan that Arriva had been trying to silence a high profile union official with a long hisotry of pushing for better safety for the company's employees. 
 
Arriva would only tell Sydsvenskan that they had had a discussion with one of their employees. 
 
Brunnström has in recent months been a vocal participant in a struggle with the company over equipment to protect staff from being infected with coronavirus, over loo breaks, and also over Arriva's moves to unilaterally reduce employees hours and salary. 
 
Pettersson said Seko would do everything in its power to prevent Brunnström losing his job, but said the union could not support a wildcat strike and encouraged its members not to take part in it. 
 
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