New pay agreement for newspaper distributors

After a short strike and lockout, the Swedish Publishers' Association and the Swedish Transport Workers' Union managed to reach an agreement for newspaper distributors in April 1997. Among other provisions, the agreement means that the employees' duties are extended.

Pay for 15,000 newspaper distributors has been increased by SEK 2.75 per hour retrospectively from 1 January 1997 and by SEK 0.45 from 1 August 1997, according to the new collective agreement between the Swedish Publishers' Association and the Swedish Transport Workers' Union. The agreement runs for one year. A novel feature of the agreement is that employees from now on have undertaken to distribute periodicals and other items of mail together with the newspapers. The employers have thus achieved one of their important demands.

The agreement was only reached after a major dispute. About 750,000 subscribers in Sweden's three biggest cities missed their morning papers when 6,000 employees went on strike on two Fridays in March. The reason for taking strike action on Fridays was that the papers are full of advertisements and this had severe financial consequences for the publishers. The Publishers' Association responded by locking out the workers on Good Friday and Easter Monday, when the morning papers do not appear. On 2 April 1997 the parties accepted the conciliators' proposal for a settlement.

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