Latest news

Swedish engineering employers terminates the cooperation agreement
On the 29th of April, the Association of the Swedish Engineering Industries terminated the cooperation agreement on wage formation and development of the industry.

IF Metall signs new National Collective Agreements
The IF Metall in Sweden has concluded new National Collective Agreements covering the Engineering, Steel, Chemical and Mining sectors. This is a brief report on the results.

Very unfortunate for the cooperation
IF Metall president Stefan Löfven comments the recent development of the national negotiations in Sweden.

IF Metall president fully support action at Saab

Show us respect as employees within GM!

This was one of the demands that the employees at Saab Automobil in Trollhättan, Sweden, put forward today during a manifestation.

Open Letter to General Motors Board of Directors

On Friday the 18th, the Board of General Motors decided to begin the closure of Saab Automobile in Trollhättan. Since then, the presumed buyer of Saab has presented new information that makes it necessary to await further analyses.

During this year extensive efforts has been made in order to find a new owner of Saab Automobile. Simultaneously, the company as a part of the automotive industry, had to endure the worst market drop of history. We acknowledge General Motors especially for securing Saabs debts to supplier companies during this extreme situation.

The local trade unions of Saab have also contributed significantly to cost reductions in order to support the company throughout this period. By this the employees of Saab have sacrificed a lot to make it possible for the company to outlive its crisis.

We regret the fact that negotiations with possible future owners of Saab for different reasons have been a failure. Yet, we believe that further alternatives should have been given more attention.

Although an agreement with a new buyer so far is not at hand, the process has delivered important results. A viable business plan has been worked out, and financial and operational prerequisites have been elaborated.
Saab is now ready to go ahead with the production of a new model. The agreement to sell the old production line and technology contributes to the financial status of the company.

We realize the serious situation of Saab Automobile and the possible closedown of the company. Regarding the large closing costs for owners, employees and other parties concerned, we appeal to the Board of General Motors to most thoroughly investigate the new initiatives taken from remaining prospective.

Stockholm December 20, 2009

Stefan Löfven, President, Swedish Industrial and Metal Workers' Union

Cecilia Fahlberg, President, Unionen

Ulf Bengtsson, President, the Swedish Association Workers' Union of Graduate Engineers

Demands on the national collective bargaining round 2010, Sweden
During next year allmost all national collective agreements has to be re-negotiated. The majority expires on March 31, and is then followed by several agreements to be negotiated up to December 2010.

With the meetings of all involved industrial Unions in November, we have really started the next national collective bargaining round. The bargaining representatives for each industry sector have been elected and the top priority demands has been adopted, and they are;

  • The Industry should set the norm for the rest of the labor market
  • We demand a real wage increase
  • Security and development
  • Increased equality

The Industry should set the norm for the rest of the labor market
Together we are six blue collar and white-collar workers union within the industry making a platform with some joint demand proposals. Whereas the industry sector being constantly dependent on international competitiveness at the global market, we believe that the industry workers should be the first to reach national agreements and set the norm for the rest of the labor market.

Real wage increase
The employers in our sectors have told us, as they did during the crisis in the 1990s, that there will be no wage increase in national agreements 2010, all negotiations should be dealt with locally and without the right to strike.

But, according to our calculations, we see that there is a wage space of 2.6 percent. In the same way that we have calculated our demands during 4 earlier collective bargaining rounds, all unions within the industry have adapted our joint demand proposals to the national economy and its conditions and the demands are held at a level that will maintain an international competitiveness.

Security and development
The third proposal on demands to be top priorities in our coming national bargaining round, covers a variety of issues. In Sweden we have the law on employment security, providing the employees with security and rules on order of priority during lay-offs and right of precedence when re-employment. We also have a national Agency Workers Agreement, negotiated and signed jointly between the 14 trade unions within LO and the employer’s organization. This agreement ensures that the agency workers will not receive wages or conditions that are lower than for the permanent employees. This is very important, both for the agency workers as well as for the permanent employees, whereas this prevent workers to be put towards each other and to prevent wage dumping.

Nevertheless, during the last year when we all have been hit by the crisis, we have seen more and more employers sidestepping the law on security of employment and instead hiring agency workers. Several of the employers are also using the crisis as a pretext for reducing the number of permanent employees and instead use agency workers as a more permanent solution, and adapting more freely after production demand and request. This creates insecurity and uncertainty among both permanent employees and the agency workers and increase precarious employment conditions.

Although, in Sweden we have both the law on employment of security and the agency workers agreement, the need for national agreement providing more secure employment conditions, is bigger than ever.

Education - In order to feel security in ones employment there is a regular need for training, education and competence development. This is also something that employers should be in favor of because it increases the industry growth and keep the industry more competitive.

Therefore, we see our proposals on education and competence development through national agreements as very important issues. We are prepared to bargaining about a certain amount of annual education and competence development for each employee. There should also be education provided during the period of notice as well as during period when there is fall in production. We, trade unions within the industry, as well as all the trade unions in LO, hope that the employer organizations, our counterparts, will see the benefits of this and that we jointly can put stronger demands on our government – a government that has not contributed at all to these parts during the economic crisis.

Increased equality
Even if there has been a lot made in Sweden to promote increased equality between men and women in both society and at work place, there are still many differences. The salary is one area. Therefore, we would like the national agreements to include demands for annual salary surveys of men and women's wages in the workplace. At the same time analysis should be made of the possibilities for the development of work tasks and salary for women and men. One important tool is education and competence development, so that women have the same opportunity to change their work tasks and in that way increase their wages.

The right to full time is also an issue of equality and the main reason why women earn much less than men. In Swedish industry this is not a big problem. However, in many other areas within the LO trade unions this is a major problem. For example within the commerce and service sector, where women only are offered part-time and therefore never reaches a better salary.
Therefore, IF Metall supports the female dominated trade unions in their struggle for full-time jobs.

December 17, 2009
Translation: Annette Lack

Agreement on temporary layoffs
You will be temporarily laid off from work, but you will keep your employment and you will be paid more than the unemployment benefit. This is the content of the agreement on temporary layoffs that IF Metall and the employers have reached.
This is an extreme situation and a temporary agreement. A considerable number of our members will be spared from being put on unemployment compensation, says Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, IF Metall’s Collective Bargaining Chief.

Currently 25 000 of the IF Metall members are unemployed, and further 40 000 have been given notice of the risk to loose their job.

The development is dramatic – the threat is mass unemployment. Now some will get help to keep their work. IF Metall and the employers’ federations, Teknikarbetsgivarna (engineering employers), Metallgruppen (metal employers) and Industri- och kemigruppen (industry and chemical employers), reached a framework agreement on temporary layoffs and training. The agreement is valid until March 31, 2010 and has a three months’ period of notice. To be valid, an arrangement has to be based on a local agreement between the employer and the union.
- If the national agreement is terminated, all the local agreements expire as well, says Veli-Pekka Säikkälä.

Under the agreement, a person to be laid off from work will always receive at least 80 per cent of the monthly wage plus unsocial hours bonus. A person working two-shift and temporarily laid off from the evening shift should have at the lowest 80 per cent of the salary received before, inclusive the unsocial hours bonus. During the autumn and winter IF Metall has suggested several financial and training measures to the Conservative government, in order to survive through this critical situation. The proposals have led to no action.
We have now reached an agreement in which our members are making a big contribution. But, then we also would like to see that the government makes some efforts and contributions by financing training. If employers send people home from work, they still have 80 per cent left to live on, says Veli-Pekka Säikkälä.

March, 2009
Translation: Annette Lack

Contact person
Erland Lindkvist –

Uppdaterad 07/16/2010

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