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Sweden faces mail service shut-down, as union threatens strike

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Postal workers in Sweden look set to take industrial action from Wednesday, over a wage dispute.

Scandinavian postal operator PostNord warned today that industrial action planned to start mid-week could shut down mail services for the whole of Sweden by the end of this week.

Communications industry union SEKO called the strike action last week after failing to secure its demands in labour contract negotiations with management organisation Almega Tjänsteförbunden.

The strike notice calls for “total stoppage” among the union’s 2,200 members at PostNord, the parent company of Sweden Post, and also at Bring City Mail, the company owned by Norway Post, which operates in Sweden.

Action would begin at midnight on 18th September, with no definitive end announced.

Janne Rudén, the federal chairman of SEKO, said the union was demanding a wage increased based on a flat rate amount for all staff, whereas management organisation Almega was proposing a sliding-scale increase based on percentage of salary.

The union is arguing that basing pay increases on percentage of salaries meant higher paid staff would receive more, with those at the lowest pay grades receiving the least.

“This involves difference of hundreds of kronor a month for those who earn the least,” he said. “The percentage system leads to a labour market where the poverty gap is increasing.”

Rudén claimed that Almega was unwilling to negotiate despite several attempts by the union to find a negotiated solution. As a result, the union aims to pile on the pressure with its strike threat.

SEKO negotiations secretary Valle Karlsson said: “We believe that our strike notice against Almega making hits at their member companies, and therefore it is a surprise that Almega is letting its ideology take precedence over the care of its member companies.”

PostNord

PostNord said today that it was in the important final stage of mediation negotiations with SEKO and Almega, with the goal of avoiding the industrial action intended to begin on 18th September.

The company said industrial action could “very quickly lead to major disruptions” in the distribution of letters and parcels throughout Sweden.

Anders Holm, the CEO Sweden for PostNord Logistics, said: “Our aim and highest priority is, of course, to ensure that industrial action is not initiated so that we can ensure safe delivery for our customers.”

PostNord said it was business as usual until 18th September, but if industrial action begins mid-week, services will gradually grind to a halt until at the end of the week production will “basically shut down for the whole of Sweden”.

Andreas Falkenmark, the president of Postal Communications for PostNord, said: “Industrial action would be very unfortunate. Our hope is that the mediators will find a mutually acceptable compromise as soon as possible.”

Source: Post&Parcel/SEKO

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