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Major construction strike may start Tuesday

Published måndag 11 april 2016 kl 11.45
Byggnads ordförande Johan Lindholm.
The head of the Byggnads union, Johan Lindholm. Photo: TT Credit: TT

Building work in Sweden could come to a standstill if negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry fail to bear fruit.

On Saturday, the independent arbitrators proposed a deal which the builders' union rejected. Union representatives told news agency TT that the deal was a "frontal attack on our pay system and, by extension, an attack on the Swedish model".

The construction companies, on their part, were happy with the proposed deal, saying it would bring improvements for those with the lowest wages as well as better equality and work environments.

The union has gone through the legal motions necessary to call a strike by giving formal notice for Tuesday, but this will only be enacted if no agreement is reached on Monday.

Labour union Byggnads plans to call out 2,500 of its members. Employers estimate that almost 10,000 people would be affected. For example, key workers on strike may cause an entire building site to stop work.

Swedish painters are already on strike and the two sides in that conflict have not had any further meetings. There are currently no plans to meet, either. There are 260 painters on strike and 190 more plan to stop work on April 22nd.

Both the painters' and builders' unions say they are worried employers want to scrap the pay system (ackordslöner) that rewards employees based on how much they get done, and impose an overall pay structure. They say this will give too much power to the employers.

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