Unions propose task force on job security law

Sweden's main trade union organisation has proposed establishing a joint team to try to reach an agreement with employers over the law on job security.

Landsorganisationen i Sverige (LO), an umbrella organisation representing 15 Swedish trade unions, believes it is time to “come to terms with the myths, hearsay and deliberate misconceptions” about the law, LO negotiating secretary Per Bardh wrote in an opinion piece published in the Dagens Industri daily on Wednesday.

Bardh proposed moving away from the abundance of inquiries into the law, which only serves to confuse the debate, and instead he proposes reasoning with employers over the law’s function.

One myth Bardh sought to debunk was the law’s supposed impact on youth unemployment. He argued his belief that it is not the law that is preventing companies from hiring young people.

“Young people are in my opinion shut out because companies have no jobs to offer,” he wrote, denying that the generous job security and conditions have created a high threshold for labour market entry.

However, he did not exclude the possibility that the law could cause real problems for companies, hence his suggestion to form a task force to sit down and discuss the issues.

“We must try to get to the bottom of what are the myths and phantom pains – and what employers actually have justification for wanting to see change in the law,” Bardh wrote.

Bardh is hopeful that there is interest on the part of employers to discuss the law.

“The matter is so infected and difficult between the parties. This can be a way to straighten things out. However, we are not in a position where we want to sit down and negotiate the law,” he wrote.

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German railway reaches pay deal with main union

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn and its main union said Saturday they had reached a pay deal after strikes disrupted services earlier this week.

German railway reaches pay deal with main union
EVG negotiator Regina Rusch-Ziemba and Torsten Westphal, EVG General Manager, at a press conference on Saturday. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/DPA
The EVG union, which represents most of the 160,000 DB workers, agreed a 6.1 percent pay rise in all — 3.5 percent payable from July 2019 and 2.6 percent from July 2020.
EVG originally demanded a 7.5 percent pay hike while DB offered 5.1 percent. Employees will also get a one-off payment of 1,000 euros ($1,130) just before the first phase salary increase, EVG and DB said.
EVG negotiator Regina Rusch-Ziemba said the union had won comprehensively after strike action had “sent a clear sign” to the company of workers' determination.
The agreement “is an important sign of (DB's) esteem for its workers,” DB human resources head Martin Seiler said in a statement.   DB will now be able to focus on improving its services, especially on punctuality, he said.
The much smaller GDL train drivers union remains in dispute with DB, announcing Friday that talks with management had failed.