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Swedish truck drivers call off national strike

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Swedish truck drivers call off national strike
13:05 CEST+02:00
The Transport Union has ended the nationwide haulage strike set to paralyze Swedish trade, after truck drivers reached an agreement with employers following fractious wrangling about how they use temping agency staff.

"This is a big victory for job security and for our members. We are very happy with the deal, which finally gives us the tools to clean up this industry," Transport Union chairman Lars Lindgren told the TT news agency.

Earlier in the day, Lindgren admitted that talks had become so tense in the early hours of Wednesday morning that the negotiators ended up telling each other to go to hell.

The nationwide strike was then called, set for noon Wednesday.

The strike at 34 transport terminals affected four major haulage companies. But an hour after Swedish truck drivers began the midday strike, news came that a new deal had been struck only a few minutes after the strike began.

"I am immensely relieved that we've come to an agreement. The deal is in keeping with what the negotiators put forward yesterday and in line with the industry at large," Peter Jeppsson, CEO of the employers organization (Biltrafikens Arbetsgivareförbund) told TT.

They had threatened to respond to the strike with a lockout by Thursday and warned that the strike risked slashing up to 80 percent of goods haulage across the country.

The key issue at stake for the drivers was how to regulate the use of temporary labour contracts, managed through temping agencies. Their demands met with resistance.

"It's important for us as employers to decide if we want to employ people or if we want to fill short-term needs by hiring temporary staff," said Jeppsson. "We need flexibility to meet our customers' demands."

TT/The Local/at

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