The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the LO agree on the practical consequences of the rules on order of priority in connection with termination of employment


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On June 15, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the LO presented their joint report on the practical consequences of the rules on order of priority in connection with termination of employment, according to the Swedish Employment Act (LAS) and collective agreements.

Adapting to a new job is of great importance not only to employees who have been given notice but also to employers, and it affects how the labour market generally functions. The joint Confederation and LO committee strived to put priority rules in a wider context by describing other important factors in connection with resizing.


The most important outcomes of the report on the practical application of the rules on order of priority are the following:


Primary union considerations are to prevent arbitrary treatment during redundancies and to protect older workers from being given notice. And these are achieved in most cases.


Priority rules based on seniority and sufficient qualifications generally lead to situations where companies that are forced to downsize end up without the employees they think have the best skills for continued operations. Consequently, these companies fail to maintain the best possible competitiveness after downsizing. This is particularly apparent in small companies.


As regards training, local unions and companies can usually agree on requirements for sufficient qualifications for workers to be transferred to new positions. However, the parties rarely agree on which personal attributes are significant to ensure that tasks are carried out well.


Local unions accept deviations from the priority rules by using redundancy lists, in cases such as determining sufficient qualifications. To a certain extent, the unions take into consideration personal attributes important for how tasks are performed.


The decisive difference between how companies and LO member unions apply the priority rules involves the extent to which the parties consider personal attributes to affect how tasks are performed.


Companies often want to consider such personal attributes that will after downsizing enable them to keep the employees they think have the best skills for continued operations. The aim is to retain the best possible competitiveness after downsizing. Employers believe that assessments of such personal attributes can be - and are - done on an objective basis.


Essentially, LO member unions are of the opinion that personal attributes should only be considered to a limited extent. Companies should take into consideration individual differences between employees and the fact that personal attributes are not decisive for how tasks are performed. Moreover, the unions are of the opinion that such personal attributes cannot be assessed objectively, which can therefore lead to arbitrary treatment of individuals in case of dismissals.