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.
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.