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Sweden – Temporary workers put strain on permanent staff

12 November 2012

A new survey claims that temporary workers on fixed-term contracts have a significant impact on stress levels felt among permanent employees with many of the regular staff complaining about fatigue and low job satisfaction.

Sweden’s third-largest blue collar union, Handels, has found that nearly six in in 10 permanent employees complain about feeling stressed if the ratio of temporary workers is high in their organisation. If the number of temporary workers drops, only 19% of workers feel more stressed at work.

The survey, published today, looked at the impact fixed-term workers (not agency workers) have on permanent staff. It questioned over 1,000 union members and shows that permanent staff often feel exhausted because they have to constantly train new employees and take on more responsibility.

“We see a clear connection between how permanent employees are feeling and the degree to which employers use temporary workers. The debate has so far focused much on the health of fixed-term employees [who are] adversely affected by precarious jobs, but the problem is much bigger than that. The whole workforce suffers when a company puts temporary employment in the system,” said Susanna Gideonsson, vice chairman at the union.

Handels says that temporary employment is widely used in the retail sector and warned that business performance will be negatively impacted by this. “We have reached the limit of how much temporary employment workplaces can handle,” said Ms Gideonsson.

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