Protests against possible redundancies in the Ericsson group
Some 1,400 workers at Ericsson Telecom's Swedish operations risk losing their jobs when the company sells its production of printed circuit boards to two American companies, as part of an overall restructuring programme. The decision, announced in March 1997, also affects Ericsson's workers in Spain, and recently 15 of them arrived in Sweden, hoping to be able to talk directly to the management.
At the end of March 1997, Ericsson Telecom (part of the Swedish Ericsson Group) workers in Norrköping learned that their employer had made a preliminary agreement with two US companies, SCI Systems and Solectron, to sell the production of printed circuit cards part of the business. The company wanted the sale to take place before the summer.
At the beginning of April, management and the local trade union branches began negotiations on the company's plans. If the sale goes ahead, up to 1,400 persons in Norrköping risk losing their jobs. Management has stated that it wants to "outsource" production in Norrköping so that all 1,400 employees "may be affected". The unions are dubious about the economic wisdom of the transfer, and plan to engage an employee consultant to examine the company's calculations.
Ericsson has plants in several countries that are likely to be affected by the decision. The workers in the Madrid plant, where 350 Spanish workers are likely to be affected, were informed at the same time as their Swedish counterparts that the company plans to close down production. On 10 April 1997, a group of 15 Spanish union delegates arrived in Sweden. They first they met their colleagues in Norrköping for talks and to plan a joint approach to Ericsson Telecom to resist these plans. Later they travelled on to Stockholm to meet the top management of Ericsson Infocom.
The leadership of the Union for Technical and Clerical Employees in Industry has made a statement in which it says that Ericsson's strategy is contrary to the spirit of the newly concluded agreement on cooperation and bargaining procedure in industry (SE9703110N).
Printed circuit boards are also produced by Ericsson in the UK, France, Italy, Croatia, Mexico, Australia and China. In the long run, all these factories will be affected by the decision to outsource the production of printed circuit boards.