New adjustment agreement reached between SAF and PTK

On 18 December 1997, the organisations affiliated to the SAF employers' organisation and PTK trade union cartel signed a new "adjustment agreement" on support to companies and their workers in the event of redundancies. The employers' costs will be reduced, and they will not, as currently, be forced to engage the Council for Redundancy Support and Advice in order to find new jobs for their workers, if they manage to convince company trade union branches that other solutions are better.

In June 1997, the Swedish Employers' Confederation (Svenska Arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) gave the trade union negotiating cartel, the Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services (Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK) notice of termination of the so-called adjustment agreement (omställningsavtalet), the purpose of which is to facilitate the adjustment for workers and employers in the event of collective redundancies (SE9709137F). SAF argued that the agreement was too costly for the employers and wanted inter alia to convert the Council for Redundancy Support and Advice (Trygghetsrådet) - which is based on the agreement - from a foundation to a private company, subject to open competition.

PTK was very annoyed by the SAF announcement. The subsequent negotiations over a new supplementary pensions scheme for white-collar workers in the private sector broke down, and the cartel was considering industrial action if a new agreement was not reached by the turn of the year, when the present one expires. However, on the night of 11 December, SAF and PTK reached a preliminary agreement, which was finally accepted by their affiliates a week later. It comes into force on 1 January 1998.

The Council for Redundancy Support and Advice will remain a foundation, but the employers' contributions will be reduced from (in most cases) 0.55% of payroll to 0.30%. As before ,the support afforded by the Council to the workers will be of two kinds: direct financial aid (redundancy pay); and various measures to help them to find new jobs. A new feature is that the employer and its company trade union branch may conclude local agreements where they decide not to make use of the latter service, but to take other measures instead in the event of redundancies. If they reach such an agreement, the employer's contributions will be reduced by at least an additional 0.12 percentage points. If, on the other hand, the company has paid for both kinds of support, it may have its contributions refunded in order to use them for other purposes, provided that the local trade union branch agrees.

According to Rolf Skillner, head of the Council for Redundancy Support and Advice, the Council will be able to carry out its activities in spite of its budget being reduced. Furthermore, SAF and PTK will take up the negotiations on the supplementary pension scheme again.

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