Published: 26/05/2012

The Swedish Hotel & Restaurant Workers’ Union (HRF) has given notice of industrial action to begin June 8 in eleven prestige hotels and restaurants in the country’s three biggest cities. The employers have rejected any change to the status of the precarious workers who make up 44% of the workplace in the sector, which is plagued with low wages, temporary contracts and permanent insecurity, ongoing staffing reductions and a high rate of stress-related illnesses.

Negotiations broke down at an early stage, with the employers taking part in only 2 of 7 scheduled meetings lasting a total of 2.5 hours before calling for voluntary mediation. The employers reject any increase in the minimum salary, reject the creation of permanent jobs and have rejected the union’s demand for a SEK 960 monthly increase for workers on full-time 12-month contract, with 80% of the increase to be distributed generally.

Significantly, negotiations between the national center LO (negotiating on behalf of 14 unions) and the employers’ association for temporary agencies Almega Bemanningsforetag have also broken down over the interpretation and implementation of the rules regarding the guaranteed monthly salary. According to the unions, the employers are refusing to offer jobs to agency workers on the last days of the month in order to keep down the average wage level and with it the guaranteed pay.