Swedish healthcare union vows 'we won't give up' as strike escalates

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Swedish healthcare union vows 'we won't give up' as strike escalates
Nurse Olga Nilsson protesting outside Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Another 1,300 union members joined a healthcare strike in Sweden at 11am on Tuesday.


The industrial action, organised by the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (which represents nurses, midwives, biomedical scientists and radiographers), has been ongoing since April 25th, when a ban on overtime and new hires was rolled out across the country as the union demanded shorter working hours.

It expanded to a full-blown strike on June 4th, with around 2,000 members walking out in Stockholm, Västra Götaland, Skåne, Östergötland and Västerbotten, although some of the strike action has been lifted or partially lifted since then to ensure lives are not in danger.

The new strike was previously set to almost double this number, adding a further 1,900 members to the strike in two regions: Värmland and Västmanland. This figure has now dropped to 1,300, as local negotiations in Västmanland mean that members in that region will no longer be striking.

Members in Region Värmland are still planning on striking.

Mediators have been called in to try to get the parties to reach an agreement.

According to the union, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) is primarily unwilling to accept its demands for shorter working hours.

"Unfortunately, SKR employers don't want to negotiate shorter working hours with us. But we're not going to give up," Ribiero said.


SKR on the other hand claims that the union has rejected all of its proposals.

"We need every healthcare worker, and a large-scale cut to working hours will affect patients and the working environment," deputy chair of SKR's negotiation delegation Sten Nordin said.

SKR is blaming the strike on the union, accusing it of risking the lives of patients. The union refutes this, saying that healthcare was already endangered before it threatened to strike.

The last time Sweden had a nurses' strike was in 2008.


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Emma Löfgren, Editor 2024/06/11 11:04
Are you a healthcare worker who is taking part in the strike, or otherwise affected? We'd love to get your perspective. Please join the conversation here or email [email protected].

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