Photo: Maria Turdén/Swedish Radio

'Dialogue' starts as bus strike widens

The bus strike in several Swedish cities was expanded today, with a total of  2,000 bus drivers now taken off work by the Kommunal union.

Meanwhile, the head of Kommunal invited her opponent, Peter Jeppsson of the Swedish Bus and Coach Employers' Association (BuA), to a meeting that concluded lunch time Monday.

"We've had a good dialogue with Kommunal's management and decided to speak again this afternoon," Jeppsson said after the meeting.

Both parties told news agency TT that the talks would continue on Monday evening.

Stockholm, Södertälje and Umeå have been affected since the start of the strike on 19 June. As of today, Kommunal union members in an additional seven cities, Strängnäs, Halmstad, Västerås/Hallstahammar, Norrköping, Jönköping, Gävle and Östersund, are striking.

If a deal is not struck by the end of the week, the strike will be further intensified on Saturday, 29 June. Kommunal has warned it will then pull another 1,400 employees.

That would bring large parts of Stockholm's bus traffic to a standstill, including airport coaches.

In addition to wages, Kommunal has said the key issues for their members are the length of breaks, the ability to rest for a full day and protection from being sacked if a new bus company takes over bus traffic operations.

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