Sweden breathes a sigh of relief after port strike is called off

A strike threatening to hamper Swedish exports and imports has been called off after dockworkers and employers signed a deal at the eleventh hour, ending years of conflict.

Sweden breathes a sigh of relief after port strike is called off
The strike would have affected around 20 ports across Sweden. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

The Swedish Dockworkers' Union had been fighting since 2016 to establish a collective bargaining agreement for its members with Ports of Sweden.

Collective agreements (kollektivavtal) are a common feature of the Swedish labour market and regulate the relationship between employers and staff, for example through fixed wages and working conditions.

Jan-Olof Jacke, CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, described the deal as “good for both sides” especially considering the consequences of a strike, which would have seen more than 1,000 workers walk out.

“The agreement means that for the first time in a very long time we can have peace and quiet in the ports and look ahead,” he told a press conference in Gothenburg.

The new deal sets up a collective agreement linked to one already in place with the Swedish Transport Workers' Union, which means the Dockworkers' Union will be entitled to represent its members in court. However, it will not be able to make its own amendments to the Transport Workers' Union's collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“We now have a national CBA for the first time in our union's 47-year history. We had to fight like hell to get here. But we did it. Together,” wrote the Dockworkers' Union on Facebook.

LONG READ: Why are strikes so rare in Sweden?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.