Fury over strawberry vendor’s baseball bat

A strawberry vendor in western Sweden was given a baseball bat as a means of protecting herself, prompting unions to cry foul about sub-standard working conditions for street-side fruit sellers.

Fury over strawberry vendor's baseball bat

The unorthodox security precaution was discovered by representatives from the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen – LO) as part of an effort to check on conditions faced by temporary summer workers around the country.

“Two of our inspectors met a girl who sold strawberries near a bus stop in Gothenburg. She hadn’t received any proof of employment and her employer had given her a baseball bat which she had on display,” Anna Palmér, a representative for the trade union group, told the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.

Palmér added that that female vendor lacked access to toilet facilities and was unable to take breaks during her long workday.

She also criticized the fact that the vendor was forced to handle large amounts of cash and that the employer nevertheless neglected to collect any of the money during the day.

“If you’re robbed, you’re supposed to just hand over the cash box without putting up any resistance. That’s how it works throughout the retail industry and in other stores, but in this case the vendor was given a baseball bat instead,” she told GP.

“It’s frightening.”

The matter has since been reported to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) as well as the Commercial Employees’ Union (Handelsanställdas förbund), according to Sveriges Radio (SR)

According to Palmér, street-side fruit vendors aren’t the only summer workers forced to put up with substandard working conditions, explaining that the union group has been flooded with calls from summer workers in need of advice.

“I’ve met young people who started working and don’t even know what they earn. I think it’s appalling that adults use young people like that,” she told GP.

TT/The Local/dl

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How to make a Swedish chicken and strawberry salad

Ate too much during Midsummer? This weekend is the perfect occasion to cook a light Swedish recipe. Food writer John Duxbury's recipe for chicken salad with strawberry is a surprising taste sensation.

How to make a Swedish chicken and strawberry salad
Chicken and strawberry: a better combination than it may seem. Photo:


Serves: 2 to 4

Level: very easy

Preparation: 15 minutes (including 10 minutes of cooking)


If you don't have any white balsamic vinegar you could use another vinegar such as ordinary balsamic, raspberry, cider or äppelvinäger med lingon (available from IKEA).

You can use any salad leaves. I like a mixture of rocket, spinach and watercress.

You can use hot chicken if you prefer.

You can make more salad dressing as it will keep it in a jar in the fridge for a week or two.


100g (4 oz) streaky bacon, cut into 1cm long pieces

100g (4 oz) salad leaves

1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp salad oil such as rapeseed oil or olive oil

1 tsp strawberry cordial (optional)

100g (4 oz) chicken breast, cooked roughly diced

100g (4 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Put a frying pan on a medium heat and when hot fry the bacon pieces for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring from time to time until evenly browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon on to some kitchen paper and pat dry.

2. While the bacon is frying, whisk the vinegar, oil and strawberry cordial (syrup) together and then pour over the salad leaves. Toss the salad until the leaves are evenly coated.

3. Add two thirds of the chicken, bacon pieces and strawberries to the salad and toss thoroughly.

4. Garnish with the remaining chicken, bacon and strawberries.

5. Grind some black pepper over the salad and serve.

This recipe was originally published on food writer John Duxbury's Swedish Food website