For you as an employee

How am I affected as a union member by industrial action?

As a member of a trade union, you are expected to participate in industrial action initiated by your union. During a strike, you may be asked to participate in strike activities in order to receive strike compensation, such as being a picket or participating in demonstrations and training sessions. It is not illegal to abstain, but if it goes against the union's bylaws, it could lead to expulsion and loss of income insurance.

What happens to my salary during industrial action?

Union members who do not work due to industrial action do not receive any salary for that time. Instead, they can receive conflict compensation from their trade union. This compensation usually does not cover the entire salary, but at least a significant portion of the lost income.

Can you go on strike if you are not a member of a trade union?

Yes, it is possible to go on strike without being a member of a trade union. However, this means that you will not receive any salary from your employer during the strike and you will not receive any compensation from the trade union either, which can be costly. Therefore, it is prudent to be a member of a trade union before a conflict arises.

What happens if I, as a union member, participate in an illegal strike?

Illegal industrial actions occur when the union or the employer takes action despite a peace obligation according to the collective agreement or without giving notice as required by law. If a party is affected by illegal industrial actions, they can report this to the Labour Court, which can decide on damages to the affected party. Primarily, it is the organization that initiated the action that is responsible for the damages. If a union member participates in an illegal strike initiated by the union, it is the union that is responsible for the damages. However, if employees act on their own initiative, they themselves are liable to pay damages.

For employers

How do industrial actions affect the company's reputation and finances?

The annual reports of the National Mediation Office only show actual conflicts, but also notices of industrial action affect companies. Employers essentially have no possibility for offensive industrial actions, which makes it misleading to solely describe the Swedish labor market as peaceful. Notices of industrial action can have significant damaging effects even in the pre-warning stage, which often leads to agreements being reached without a conflict breaking out.

To avoid conflict-related damages, employers are often forced to accept agreements that can be costly in the long run. Some potential damages include uncertainty regarding delivery capability. The implementation of a strike, whether legal or illegal, is of course also associated with direct costs. Finally, it should be noted that industrial actions can damage the trust for both the management and the employees, which overall will result in negative publicity and reduced competitiveness.

In summary

  • During a strike or other industrial action, employees' finances are affected as they do not receive wages but may receive strike compensation from the union. Industrial action can also lead to exclusion from the union if one does not participate according to the bylaws, which affects income insurance.
  • For employers, industrial action can cause significant financial damage and uncertainty, often forcing them to accept costly agreements to avoid conflict. This negatively affects the company's competitiveness and relationships with both customers and employees.
  • The industrial actions that can be taken by the parties in the labor market affect both employees and employers. To minimize the risks of negative effects, it is crucial for both parties to understand their rights and obligations and work together to reach solutions that benefit everyone involved.

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