New pay agreement for workers in the Swedish timber industry

A collective agreement for 1997 has been successfully agreed in the Swedish timber industry. Employers demands were met on lower wage rates for young holiday workers have been lowered, and modified provisions on temporary employment.

Some 25,000 blue-collar workers are covered by the agreement between the Employers' Association of the Swedish Wood Products Industry and the Swedish Wood Industry Workers' Union, reached on 4 April 1997. All employees receive across-the-board minimum pay increases of SEK 1 per hour. In addition, the local parties have SEK 0.95 an hour per worker at their disposal to allocate on an individual basis. The settlement represents an overall increase in pay of 3.1%.

The negotiations were difficult, and the agreement is based on proposals put forward by a mediator. The employers were successful in having their two most important claims accepted. From now on, the employers can recruit workers on a temporary basis for six months instead of three, without recourse to the union. Subject to the approval of the local union, this period can be extended to 12 months in individual cases. The hourly wage rate for holiday workers under 18 years of age has been lowered from SEK 40 to SEK 30.

The parties hope that both these modifications will result in the creation of more jobs.

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