Swedish nursing union threatens to double healthcare strike

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Swedish nursing union threatens to double healthcare strike
An overtime ban has been in place for a month, and could escalate into a full-blown walkout. Photo: Caisa Rasmussen/TT

The Swedish Association of Health Professionals is threatening to add another 1,900 of its members and another 170 workplaces to its healthcare strike due to break out in June.


Around 60 of the workplaces covered by the new strike notice are healthcare centres, according to the union.

"All we want is for this issue to be resolved, but for that to happen we need better working conditions for our members," union chair Sineva Ribiero told Swedish news agency TT.

In total, around 3,900 healthcare workers are now covered by the strike notice. Some 2,000 nurses, midwives, biomedical analysts and radiology nurses are set to walk out on June 4th in five regions: Stockholm, Västra Götaland, Skåne, Östergötland and Västerbotten.

The new strike notice adds 1,900 healthcare workers and two regions from June 11th.

A blockade on overtime and new hires has been in place for 63,000 members of the union in all Swedish regions since April 25th, and was extended to 5,000 municipal employees in 29 municipalities from May 20th. Healthcare is run regionally in Sweden, but municipalities organise welfare services such as elderly care and school nurses.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) is blaming the consequences of the strike on the union, claiming that it could risk the lives of patients. Ribiero refutes this, saying that healthcare was already endangered before the union threatened to strike.

"We know what their planning looks like for the summer, how they're planning on closing cancer departments, oncology and everything else. And we know how that affects patients. And it also affects us," she said.


Ulf Olsson, head of SKR's negotiation delegation, described the union's decision to expand the strike as "very serious".

"And this is before the first strike has even come into force, and even before the mediators have been able to come with their proposals," he told TT.

According to Swedish media, the mediators are expected to propose a solution this weekend.

The strike could be delayed if a central healthcare board headed by former Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund determines that it poses a danger to society. 



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