Pay deal averts Midsummer train chaos

Midsummer revellers can breathe a sigh of relief after employers and unions agreed a new pay deal and averted a train strike that promised to wreak havoc over the holiday weekend.

Pay deal averts Midsummer train chaos

“We were very anxious to avoid a conflict. It would have caused incredible problems for the general public, who would have found it difficult to get to work and Midsummer celebrations,” said Jonas Milton of the Almega employer association.

The agreement signed between Almega and the Seko union will run from April 1st 2013-March 31st 2016 and will ensure salaries rise by 6.8 percent over the period.

The deal also includes an agreement on a new formulation concerning parental leave, including compensation for up to six 30-day periods.

Two joint working groups will also be formed, with one set to review issues concerning threats, violence and working alone. The other will work to improve the integration of the agreement into various areas of operations.

Seko president Janne Ruden told the TT news agency that strike action had looked likely as negotiations remained deadlocked.

“It was only during the afternoon that it began to ease,” he said.

Ruden expressed particular satisfaction that the deal can be revoked annually and that a solution has been reached for Seko members working with the Götalandståg rail operator.

“We are very proud that we Seko managed to… protect our members from deteriorating employment conditions when changing train operator,” he said in a statement.

“Almega has now taken responsibility for the Swedish model, based on strong collective agreements.”

The three-year agreement includes salary increases of 2.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

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Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped and between Stockholm and Malmö severely disrupted due to a fire and several electrical faults.

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

“We have problems with all rail traffic south of Norrland,” Peter Jonsson, from the Swedish Transport Administration, told the country’s TT newswire. “The heat has of course had an impact, particularly when it concerns the fire, but we’re not otherwise speculating on the cause.” 

According to the agency, the issues are the result of four separate incidents, a fire south of Hallsberg, an overhead power contact line, which has snapped, and two electrical faults. 

Peter Krameus, a spokesperson for Sweden’s state-owned rail company SJ, said that all trains were being sent back to the stations from which they most recently departed until the faults could be corrected. 

While trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped completely, trains between Stockholm and Malmö have been affected by two problems with overhead lines. Trains between Mjölby and Nässjö and Eslöv and Stehag are travelling onto on one of the two lines now. 

“That doesn’t mean that all traffic has stopped, but it’s going to mean cancelled trains and delayed departures,” Jonsson said. 

So far, 50 of SJ’s train departures have been cancelled as a result of the faults.