Wage agreements in cleaning firms, power plants and the food industry concluded after industrial action

After boycotts and strike action a collective agreement on wages for cleaners employed by cleaning firms was concluded on 16 May 1997. In two other sectors where negotiations have been unusually difficult, power plants and the food industry, agreements have finally been reached after meditation.

After 10 days of boycotts and two hours of strike action among the cleaners in the LKAB mine in northern Sweden, the Business Services Associations on the one hand and the Building Maintenance Workers' Union and the Union of Service and Communication on the other, accepted a draft collective agreement on wages from the mediators on 16 May 1997. The agreement covers 25,000 employees in 600 companies. It means that the average monthly salary will be raised by SEK 370.

With the assistance of mediators, an agreement for 6,000 electricians in power plants was reached the day before. One of the stumbling-blocks was the union's claim for a reduction of annual working time which was consequently rejected by the employers. The agreement, which runs until the end of August 1998, gives every employee a lump sum of SEK 4,000, and a pay increase of 2.7% from 1 July. From 1 January 1998, wages will be increased by an additional 1.2% on average.

Most of the agreements for the 27,600 blue-collar workers in the food industry were concluded around the turn of the month April-May, in some cases after boycott action and under mediation. In all areas the issue of working time has been controversial. The Swedish Food Workers' Union and theEmployers' Association of Swedish Food Producers finally agreed to form a working group which will analyse the matter further. The increases in employers' costs arising from the agreements in the food industry vary from 2.8% to 3%.

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