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UNION

Swedes face toilet paper shortage in wake of strike threat

The threat of a toilet paper shortage looming large over Sweden on Wednesday after a labour union warned it would block deliveries from several Swedish toilet paper factories in a show of solidarity with another union group negotiating for higher pay.

“We’re going to block goods from leaving factories in Lilla Edet, Marestad, Pauliström, and Nyboholm,” Matts Jutterström of the Pappers labour union told the labour trade publication Dagens Arbete.

The action, which is set to go in effect on April 23rd, could wipe out toilet paper and paper towel supplies in stores across Sweden.

Pappers’ threat to stop toilet paper deliveries is meant as a show of support for protracted wage negotiations between the Commercial Employees’ Union (Handels) and the Svensk Handel retail employers association.

The two parties have failed to come to an agreement about higher wages, with Handels warning in late March that around 4,700 workers would go on strike on Friday, April 13th if no wage agreement is struck.

The stores likely to be affected by the Handels strike include Bauhaus, Ikea, Lindex, Rusta, Willys, Ica, Clas Ohlson, among others.

In addition to Pappers, the construction workers union Byggnads also announced on Wednesday its members would strike on April 20th in a show of solidarity with the Handels workers.

“It’s obvious that we as construction workers must support our wives, girlfriends, daughters and friends in their fight for equal pay,” Byggnads negotiating representative Torbjörn Johansson said in a statement.

A mediator has been called in to help get negotiations between the commercial employees union and the retail employers association back on track.

While the union has demanded a 4.5 percent pay raise, Svensk Handel has only offered a 2.6 percent hike in pay.

TT/The Local/dl

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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