Byggkranad. Foto: Maria Sjöqvist/Sveriges Radio.
A construction site. Credit: Maria Sjöqvist / Swedish Radio.

Construction industry wants lower minimum wage

As annual negotiations between major labor unions and industry strive to wrap up before their spring deadline, the construction industry is calling for a freeze on the minimum wage in response to union demands for an increase.

In addition, employers want to introduce a new form of employment with a lower monthly salary for people who are long-term unemployed or newly arrived immigrants.

The salary would be 65 percent of the current minimum salary which is at just under SEK 26,000 per month for skilled construction workers.

"It means a salary of 16,000 to 17,000 per month,"said Mats Åkerlind, a negotiator for the Swedish Construction Federation, the trade association made up of private construction companies and employers.

Right now in Sweden it's time for employers organizations and unions to negotiate deals deciding pay and benefits. Once the national agreements are done those form the basis for local, company and individual negotiations.

The construction workers' union, Byggnads, however, want to see wage increases of 3.2 percent, saying the employers can afford it.

"We have a construction industry that is doing very well right now," said Johan Lindholm, head of the Byggnads union.

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