Electricians take industrial action over new agreement

September 1999 saw industrial action by the Swedish Electricians' Union, when negotiations over a new collective agreement broke down. As well as pay and working time, the points of disagreement between the trade union and employers include the issue of responsibility for electrical safety.

Negotiations between the Electricians' Union (Elektrikerförbundet, SEF) and the Swedish Electrical Contractors' Association (Elektriska Installatörsorganisationen, EIO) over a new collective agreement broke down for the second time on 22 September 1999. On 23 September, the trade union relaunched a ban on overtime work, on employing new electricians and on the lending of electricians between different companies. Industrial action had first started on 9 September, but were suspended a week later when it seemed that that parties had found a mutually acceptable platform for the negotiations.

The Electricians' Union has about 22,000 members in 2,600 companies. Their demands in the negotiations for a new collective agreement deal with pay systems, working time issues, employment protection and, above all, the issue of electrical safety. SEF wants the rules to be changed, so that the responsibility for accidents lies with the employer, not the individual electrician. The employer should take over the responsibility of ensuring that the necessary checks are carried out, states SEF, referring to Swedish work environment legislation. EIO believes that it is only the electrician on the spot who can carry out the necessary checks. SEF responds that it does not mind the electricians making the safety checks, as long as the employer has legal responsibility.

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