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Sweden – New collective agreement for the Industrial sector

03 April 2013

A new collective agreement grants industrial workers a wage increases of 6.8% over three years as well as additional parental rights.

“I am satisfied that the pay rise will come into force over three years, but the increase is higher than I would have liked”, according to Åke Svensson, CEO of the organisation Teknikföretagens representing the employers in the Industrial and Engineering sector. As a counterpart, employers pushed through some of their requirements in terms of overtime and flexibility in working time arrangements.

The agreement was signed by three organisations: the IF Metall Union, the largest private sector trade union, Unionen, Sveriges Ingenjörer s and the employer organisation Teknikföretagens.

The agreement is presented as an important victory for IF Metall, as workers will be entitled to a pay rise equivalent to SEK 1,550 (approximately €1,800) per month by the end of the three year period, based on an average monthly pay of SEK 25,000 (approximately €30,000). For employees registered with Unionen, the minimum wage will increase by SEK 780 (approximately €93) per month over the three year period. The agreement runs until the end of March 2016, when the three year period terminates.

The unions have also won the inclusion of extra parental insurance, which employers will have to contribute towards.

“I think it's a reasonable agreement. It is difficult to predict the economic consequences”, said IF Metall chairman Anders Ferbe.

Finance Minister Anders Borg also expressed relief when the agreement was signed.

“I am pleased that we have an agreement. There is obviously a balance to be reached between providing workers with income growth and ensuring that the industrial sector remains competitive, but this agreement demonstrates that collective bargaining can play a constructive role in the process“, according to the Minister.

Agreements in the industry tend to be indicative of the level of other collective agreements. The trade union LO recently signed an agreement with food industry employer organisation, Livsmedelsföretagen. The agreement concerns approximately 30,000 employees and will provide a pay rise proportional to the salary for those earning below SEK 25,000 per month (approximately €30,000), and a lump sum for those earning more. Agreements are also underway in the mining industry and metals industry agreements according to Teknikföretagens.

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