The basic agreement

Collective agreement The collective agreement contains rules concerning the negotiation procedure.


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These may be:

  • How and when negotiation must be requested so as to retain acquired rights
  • Rules as to when and how the parties may resort to industrial action
  • Rules specifying the conduct of negotiations, mainly in terms of procedure, in case of disputes concerning the application of the collective agreement
  • Contravention of a collective agreement may lead to liability to pay damages
  • The application of a collective agreement can be brought into court for trial
  • The interpretation of a collective agreement is to be based on what has been the intent of the parties 
  • Conflicts that cannot be settled by negotiation are to be referred to the Labour Court.

These regulations are sometimes found in special basic agreements. The basic agreement that has served as a model for the rest of the labour market is the one concluded between LO and the former Swedish Employers' Confederation SAF), now the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

It is called the Saltsjöbaden Agreement, since it was signed after an epoch-making bargaining round in Saltsjöbaden in 1938. The main parts of this agreement still apply.

Participation agreements

According to the Co-determination Act, trade unions have gained the right to conclude collective agreements with their counterparties, the employers, in co-determination issues. These agreements are called agreements on participation and efficiency. The purpose of co-determination agreements includes creating varied and fulfilling forms of work and meaningful job content. The agreements also usually include regulations concerning skills development. Every member has access to the text of the relevant collective agreement.

The Swedish National Mediation Office is an agency with the mission to mediate in labour disputes and to promote an efficient wage formation process. It is also responsible for public statistics relating to wages and salaries. A party intending to take industrial action is obliged to notify both the counterparty and the National Mediation Office at least seven days in advance.