Port dispute causes government to react

10:02 - 29 May 2017 / News

The lengthy dispute between the trade union and APM Terminals has caused the government to react. An enquiry team will be set up in an effort to safeguard what is termed the Swedish model and limit industrial action against employers that have already signed a collective agreement.

The container terminal at The Port of Gothenburg, APM Terminals Gothenburg, is the largest in Scandinavia.

The government has seen at first hand the serious impact that the trade union dispute at APM Terminals Gothenburg is having on Swedish imports and exports. During a visit to Gothenburg on May 23, Minister for Employment and Integration Ylva Johansson announced that the government intends to review legislation relating to industrial disputes.

In a press release from the Ministry of Employment it was stated: “The Swedish model is founded on mutual trust between employers and trade unions and that all the parties concerned assume joint responsibility for ensuring that the model works as it was originally intended. The sustained industrial action at the Port of Gothenburg is an example of a situation where the Swedish model is not functioning adequately as it would appear that the parties on the labour market are unable to resolve the issue of which organisation should sign a collective agreement.”

A special representative has been appointed to review the rules governing industrial action in a situation where the employer is already bound by a collective agreement or where the reason for taking industrial action is not solely to bring about a collective agreement.

Magnus Kårestedt, CEO at the Port of Gothenburg.

Port of Gothenburg chief executive Magnus Kårestedt is pleased with the government’s initiative.

“The dispute with the union is causing enormous harm to Swedish companies throughout the country. They have been forced to redirect their freight flows, leading to more expensive and more complex logistics arrangements. We have highlighted on a number of occasions the unreasonableness of a situation where Swedish ports that have signed collective agreements covering the whole industry are still being exposed to unrelenting industrial action. We now hope to put an end to the matter and find a stable, long-term solution.” 

The government has taken a dim view of the Swedish model not functioning at the ports as it was originally intended.

“There needs to be order and stability on the Swedish labour market. I don’t intend taking sides in the current conflict but the Swedish model must work at the Port of Gothenburg. The situation is serious and represents a threat not only to jobs but also to the Swedish economy,” said Ylva Johansson.

Descision about directive and enquiry team is expected in a couple of weeks. The next step will be new legislation that will be passed by Parliament. 

For further information about the current industrial action at APM Terminals, click here.

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