With stalled talks, painters' strike continues
Late night negotiations on Thursday between the Swedish painters' union and employers failed to end a two-week strike, which will now expand to include an additional 600 workers.
The walkout began on April 8 with 260 members from the union Målareförbundet, but the union and employers seemed hopeful late Thursday that an agreement would be reached.
However, the union rejected an early morning proposal from a mediator and the total number of striking workers will rise to 860.
The sticking point in the talks was a union demand that employers guarantee workers receiving pregnancy benefits would not be laid off or fired.
Women with physically strenuous jobs or a risky working environment can receive this benefit if they need to stop working or cut back their hours when they are pregnant. The union wants a promise that female workers won't lose their jobs if they work less during their pregnancy.
Björn Hellman, president of the employers association in Sweden, told Swedish Radio that he is "hugely disappointed" with the union's rejection.
He said he expects both parties to continue mediation but adds it may take a few days before they meet again.
"Our side, the employer side, of course wants an agreement. But it takes two to tango," Hellman said.