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The Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union (hereinafter 'Municipal') gives notice of industrial action for private care providers

Illustration of two arrows pointing at a white lightning.
Foto: Kommunal.
2021-01-12
Negotiations between Municipal and Almega Vårdföretagarna, the Swedish Association of Private Care Providers (hereinafter 'Employers’ Association'), have deadlocked. Municipal is giving notice of an industrial dispute for employees in private health, social care, and care for the elderly beginning 15 January. The contractual sector covers around 55,000 social care workers.

FAQs about our agreement with the Employers’ Association – sectors E and F

When must I join Municipal to receive strike pay?

Only members of Municipal receive financial support during strikes or lockouts. Anyone who becomes a member of Municipal  before 09:59 on 15 January  has the right to strike pay. This means employees who are not members of Municipal may be severely affected if their employer declares a lock-out. Any blockade on new employees will not affect people who already work for a private health care company, and it will not affect your pay.

Join Municipal
 

 

What does notice of industrial action involve?

If the parties do not reach agreement before 15 January, there will be a blockade on new recruitment, additional hours and overtime in private health care companies nationwide. The groups concerned include nurses, health care assistants, chefs and meal staff. The next step will be to strike work at a large number of retirement homes and health centres for the companies concerned. This will apply nationwide in Sweden as of 22 January. 

"Since the breakout of Corona right across Sweden, most people have realised the absolute necessity of raising the status and appeal of the care professions. The Corona Commission's most recent interim report on care of the elderly noted that it is staff skills and conditions that determine the quality of care. The fact that the Employers’ Association is forcing Municipal to strike to avoid paying its employees according to terms equivalent to the public sector agreement is provocative in the extreme," says Tobias Baudin, chairman of Municipal.

“Impossible to accept

"A strike is always the last resort and never anything Municipal takes lightly. But it is impossible for us to accept an agreement which requires Municipal's members to consent to poorer conditions for a specific pay initiative for professionally qualified employees," says Tobias Baudin, chairman of Municipal.

Municipal takes the position that an agreement with the Employers’ Association must be worth the same as the agreement with Sweden's Municipalities and Regions (SKR), and cooperative, non-profit employers. There's no more of it, nor any less. In the current situation, the Employers’ Association says that the special investment in vocational training demanded by Municipal should be paid for by less favourable conditions. 

"During the bargaining round, Municipal has negotiated new collective agreements and agreed the standardisation process without dispute with any of the counterparties.  It is regrettable that the employers representing private care companies are clearly of the opinion that their particular businesses cannot afford to offer reasonable pay and conditions. As with any other employer in the industry, private care providers should recognise that improving conditions in order to improve the quality of their care is in their own interests," says Johan Ingelskog, Municipal's contracts secretary.

Clarification concerning the notice of action 

Because Municipal is not party to the agreements between municipalities, regions and the companies with whom they do business, we have no idea how these agreements are set out or formulated. We believe that local authorities and regions are responsible for certain activities under the Social Services Act, for example. Our understanding is that the responsibility arising from the law cannot be delegated to a contractor.
Our notice of industrial action is devised such that users and citizens in need of health and social care will not suffer effects from a dispute they are unable to influence. 

Read more  

FAQs about our agreement with the Employers’ Association – sectors E and F

FAQs for the two agreements on care and treatment (sector E) and care for the elderly (sector F) can be found here. For inclusion in strike compensation, your membership in Municipal must be registered no later than 09:59 on 15 January 2021. 

FAQs on this page

What is the dispute about?

Notice

Blockade

Strike

What should I do? 

Do you have any questions? 

What is the dispute about?

What are Municipal's most important demands?

  • Higher pay for all members.
  • A special investment in vocational training for health and social care.
  • Higher compensation for unsocial hours and other variable pay.

Won't Municipal's demands breach the 'benchmark'?

No. We're keeping to the benchmark and believe our demands fall within the industry standard.

How the benchmark affects pay increases in collective bargaining

What happens now?

The Swedish National Mediation Office will step in as a third-party in the negotiation. Mediators have been appointed and are to meet with both Municipal and the Employers’ Association. The aim of mediation is for the parties to agree before industrial action comes into play. If we do not reach agreement by 10:00 on 15 January, industrial action will come into play.

When will such action e.g. a strike break out?

Municipal has chosen to split industrial action into two stages.

If we do not reach agreement with the Employers’ Association, our first step will be to introduce a block on new employment, additional hours and overtime as of 10:00 on 15 January. In short, this means companies will not be allowed to employ new staff, and nor will existing staff be allowed to work more than their regular working hours. 

The blockade will apply from 10:00 on 15 January until the parties reach a new agreement.

If the parties do not agree, the next step will begin at 09:00 on 22 January when a strike will be launched at a number of private retirement homes and health centres.  

Notice

Why is Municipal giving notice of industrial action?

Negotiations have deadlocked because the Employers’ Association does not agree to Municipal's demands for higher wages, better conditions and an extra pay initiative for skilled workers. Private employers represented by the Employers’ Association do not wish to give their employees the same pay increases and improved conditions already enjoyed by employees in the public, cooperative and idea-driven businesses.

Municipal is giving notice of a block on new employment, additional hours and overtime as of 10:00 on 15 January. Our position is that an agreement with the Employers’ Association must be worth the same as the agreement signed with other employers' organisations in health and social care. 

Who are affected by the notice of industrial action?

The notice applies to all employees who are included in care and treatment (sector E) and care for the elderly (sector F) agreements, concluded by Municipal and the Employers’ Association. 

What does notice of industrial action mean?

The notice is a forewarning. In the context of negotiations, it means that one of the parties is giving warning of industrial action, such as strikes and similar. Notice is given at a certain time before industrial action comes into play. 

Employers may also give notice of industrial action such as a lockout, which means you will not be allowed to enter your workplace.

What does this notice mean for me as an employee in private care and care for the elderly?

Municipal's notice of a blockade on new employment will not directly affect employees currently employed in private healthcare companies. It means that no new employees may be hired by the companies concerned after a specific date. However, it is important that you notify your section or elected representative if you see that your employer is hiring at your workplace even though the new employment blockade is in play.
An overtime blockade means you may not work overtime while the industrial dispute is ongoing.

A block on additional time means part-time employees may not work more than their regular hours. Example: If your schedule lists your hours as 07:00 - 14:00, you may not work later than 14:00. 

My line manager is scheduling overtime right now. Is this allowed?

Scheduled overtime is not permitted after 15 January; contact your section if your line manager does this.  

Blockade

I'm an hourly employee and am scheduled to work after 15 January when the blockade comes into play. What applies to me?

If you work as an intermittent hourly employee and you are already scheduled to work after 15 January, you must work the shifts in the schedule. 

I am employed hourly but have not yet been given any hours; they usually call me in when needed. What applies to me?

Your employer may offer you work as usual up until 15 January and even offer you work after 15 January, but you must receive the offer before the new employment blockade comes into play at 10:00 on 15 January.  

What is non-union labour?

Non-union labour refers to employees who are not members of a trade union. 

Does the blockade that begins on 15 January also apply to non-union labour?

Yes; the blockade on new employees applies to everyone, even non-union labour. 

Strike

How will I know which workplaces are called on to strike beginning 22 January?

At the bottom of this page is a list of the workplaces that are called on to strike.  

What is a key individual, and what does it mean if a key individual is called on to strike?

Municipal has chosen to call on key individuals at some workplaces; a key individual is someone who will have considerable consequences for the employer if called on to strike. If the key individual is called on to strike, it means that the person may not carry out his or her duties, and nor may anyone else carry them out instead. 

I am an hourly employee and my workplace is called on to strike. What applies to me?

If your workplace is called on to strike and you are covered by the notice, you must not work; this applies to everyone regardless of their type of employment.

Won't strikes affect third parties, i.e. the elderly and sick?

No. Municipal does not believe this will affect third parties.

The municipalities are themselves responsible for health and social care in each municipality. They have in turn chosen to outsource their activities to private contractors. When industrial action such as strikes is taken, the responsibility of ensuring that operations continue safely falls back onto the municipalities concerned. The same applies to the regions.

Municipal is responsible for ensuring that notice of industrial action to the Employers’ Association does not affect third parties 

Is it not irresponsible to go on strike while the Corona pandemic is still going on?

It’s astonishing that the employers are forcing a conflict in a situation like this. A strike is always the last resort and never anything Municipal takes lightly. But it is impossible for us to accept an agreement which requires Municipal's members to consent to poorer conditions for a specific pay initiative for qualified employees.

When must I join Municipal to receive strike pay?

Only members of Municipal receive financial support during strikes or lockouts. Anyone who becomes a member of Municipal before 09:59 on15 January has the right to strike pay. This means employees who are not members of Municipal may be severely affected if their employer declares a lock-out. Any blockade on new employees will not affect people who already work for a private health care company, and it will not affect your pay.

How much will I get in strike pay if I am called on to strike?

You get 100% of the lost income (the pay you should have received) plus 13% in holiday compensation less 31%, which corresponds to average tax in Sweden, i.e. about 78% of your lost income. The 31% is deducted as strike pay is tax-free.

Who receives pay during the dispute? 

Employees who were members of Municipal before the outbreak of the dispute. 

I'm not a member today; precisely when must I become a member to have the right to pay during the dispute? 

You must become a member no later than 09:59 on 15 January 2021. The best way to become a Member is to complete your application at Kommunal.se

If you need to apply for membership on paper, your application must reach Municipal no later than 09:59 on 15 January, 2021. Then contact the section closest to you; contact details are available at kommunal.se/sektion

How much will my strike pay be? 

The compensation is tax-free and covers 100% of your lost income.  

100% of lost income plus 13% holiday compensation less 31% tax. 

Thus your compensation will be around 78% of your income, tax-free.  

Lost income refers to the income you would have received as a member on that date, including compensation for unsocial working hours.  

Where can I find forms for dispute pay and who do I submit them to when completed? 

As soon as it is updated, the strike pay form will be available at the bottom of the Swedish version of this page. It provides instructions on how to complete it. Once the form is completed, submit it to your section. 

Will I be paid for all the days I would have worked, even if there are more than five working days during the week? 

Yes. 

How will my union subscriptions be paid if I usually have an automatic deduction from pay? 

If no deduction can be made, you will receive an invoice. 

I am an hourly worker, a short-term substitute. What dispute pay applies in my case? 

You will be paid for shifts already scheduled. If you can verify by means of time reports or payslips etc. that you usually work to a certain extent, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact your section and they will help you. 

I work part-time and also receive partial unemployment benefit; what applies to my dispute pay? 

Report how you would have worked on the dispute pay form, and report as usual to the unemployment benefit office. 

I am on sick leave; what applies to me regarding dispute pay? 

If you are on sick leave due to accident or illness and cannot work, and you are therefore receiving e.g. sickness benefit, you will receive no dispute pay. The same applies to people who are prevented from working for other reasons, such as parental leave or schooling. 

What can I do to help?

There are a number of things you can do to support private health and social care employees. You could for example: 

  • Talk to colleagues who are not members and explain that by joining Municipal we can together put our employer under higher pressure. 
  • Share and like posts on Municipal's Facebook and Instagram pages.
  • Get involved in Municipal locally to bring about change at your workplace. Trade Union work is carried out on many different levels, by getting involved you can bring about major improvements in your workplace. 

Do you have any questions?

Contact your section

How strikes work (in Swedish)

Information library on collective bargaining (in Swedish)