Gothenburg trams keep running after threat to suspend services over coronavirus

UPDATED: Threats to suspend Gothenburg tram services from 3pm today have been averted at the eleventh hour.

Labour union health and safety representatives initially ordered all tram traffic in Gothenburg to be suspended on Tuesday afternoon, using a Swedish workers' rights clause that can be activated over health and safety concerns in the workplace. It is called skyddsstopp, which is literally translated as 'protection stop'.

But close to the deadline of 3pm, the stoppage was postponed until Wednesday afternoon, amid ongoing negotiations with the employer, Göteborgs spårvägar.

On Wednesday morning, however, Swedish radio broadcaster SR reported that the employer and union had reached an agreement and that the trams would continue running in the western Swedish city.

The union had argued that the employer had not put in place enough protective measures for tram drivers, claiming that drivers were forced to travel on busy routes and could not protect themselves from coronavirus infection.

“Not all drivers' cabins are sealed off. This has been going on since mid-March, but nothing is happening,” Johan Kanmert, health and safety representative for the Kommunal trade union, told the TT news agency on Tuesday.

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“We have (sealed off) the buses, but not the trams because our assessment is that the front doors are an important evacuation exit on the trams,” Annette Johansson, communications director at Göteborgs spårvägar, told TT on Tuesday. “We are having a dialogue and looking at various solutions.”

Swedish radio reported on Wednesday morning that measures had now been taken to protect the drivers.


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