Discussions initiated between the social partners and the Minister of Employment
On 28 January, the Swedish social partners met the Swedish Minister of Employment Sven-Otto Littorin, in order to discuss how to deal with the consequences of the decision in the Laval case for the Swedish labour market.
The decision will require measures from the social partners as well as from the legislative bodies. A commission of inquiry will be set up now with the aim of outlining proposals for amendments of legislation, aimed at removing the obstacles entailed by the decision by the European Court of Justice, which mean that the social partners cannot apply their collective agreements to foreign companies operating temporarily in the country. The discussions were cautious but also constructive, according to Wanja Lundby-Wedin, LO President.
- The commission of inquiry now being set up will work in close cooperation with the social partners, which is important. In addition, it will be put in place as soon as possible with an open mandate, which we welcome.
Amendments that might come into question would mainly concern amendments of the Act on the Posting of Workers, with a view to ensuring that foreign workers can benefit from the employment and working conditions laid down in collective agreements in Sweden. For instance, we cannot accept that foreign workers today, after the Laval case, can be left without insurance in the Swedish labour market. Proposals will also be outlined for amendments of the law rule called Lex Britannia, which makes it possible to apply Swedish collective agreements on all work performed in Sweden.
The judgement in the Laval case also implies that the social partners will have to review the wage schemes in the collective agreements. The collective agreement’s rules regarding wages must be made clearer, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.
- We are of the opinion that the social partners, together with the legislative bodies, will be capable of solving the difficulties entailed by the decision as regards the regulation of the Swedish labour market. Successful cooperation between the social partners will be an important point of reference for the discussions on the basic central agreement, now being carried on by the LO, the PTK ( The Council for Negotiation and Co-operation) and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.