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Sweden – Staffing association planning legal action against government

27 September 2012

The Swedish Government is currently reviewing a draft bill on implementing new staffing regulations, following pressure from the European Union – but “critical” regulations to lift restrictions for recruitment firms have not been included and could lead to legal proceedings.

Sweden’s association of staffing agencies is considering suing the government as the bill in its current form does not cover article 4 of the European Agency Worker Directive, which the country is late in implementing.

This article obliges governments to review restrictions on the use of temporary agency work. It says that “prohibitions or restrictions on the use of temporary agency work shall be justified only on grounds of general interest relating in particular to the protection of temporary agency workers, the requirements of health and safety at work or the need to ensure that the labour market functions properly and abuses are prevented.”

Henrik Bäckström, managing director of Sweden’s staffing association, said in an interview with Staffing Industry Analysts that the government has not included the article because of “political” reasons. This is because it lacks much needed support by the left-wing party to enforce article 4, something the party opposes because of its hostile stance towards temporary agency employment. 

According to Mr Bäckström, this is against European law and the association is now planning a meeting with the European Commission to discuss the matter further.

He does not rule out taking legal action if the government fails to resolve the matter soon and is hoping for a “quick solution.”

Mr Bäckström has strongly criticised the Swedish government for not implementing article 4, something which he says has been a prime aim for the European Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Eurociett) of which he is a board member.

The government is currently planning to introduce the bill in January 2013.

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