In Sweden, relations between employers and workers and their organisations are governed by several laws. Parties to the labour market can, through collective agreements, deviate significantly from the legislation. A collective agreement is a written agreement on the terms of employment between a employers` organisation or an employer and a trade union organisation. It can also resolve other conditions between employers and workers. The National Mediation Office has more information on the Swedish model. One of the most important tasks of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers is to lay the foundations for a good and safe professional life by negotiating collective agreements. These agreements address issues such as working conditions, parental leave and occupational pensions. Collective agreements deal with issues that are not regulated by law and often add to the rights and benefits you already have under the law. Collective agreements cover, among other things, your working time and salary, the right to annual salary review, overtime, pensions, welfare benefits, sickness benefits, insurance coverage, notice and the number of days off. The only Swedish trade union that focuses exclusively on the organisation of staff within public agencies.
We are convinced that everyone benefits from being a member of the same union instead of belonging to different professional organizations. A collective agreement is obtained through negotiation. The Participation Act specifies that any trade union organisation and employers` or employer organisation has the right to negotiate in all areas that influence the relationship between the employer and the worker. This may be a settlement by an agreement not yet reached between the parties or a replacement of existing rules with new issues. A bargaining right for one party means an obligation for the other party to participate in the negotiations. However, there is no legal obligation to reach an agreement (for more information, see “Participation in the Work”). If you work for a company without a collective agreement, there may be a good level of benefits in the form of a work-last pension solution, parental leave pay supplements and annual salary review. As a general rule, they are governed by a directive developed by the employer. Therefore, the employer can decide unilaterally and at any time to change the terms of the worst – without negotiating with you. We offer support and advice to our members on these issues.
As a seconded employer, you can sign collective agreements with a Swedish workers` representation or become a member of a Swedish employers` organisation, which binds you to a Swedish collective agreement. Trade union organisations have the right to take trade union measures to encourage sending employers to sign collective agreements. In most cases, agreements offer you better terms than you may be able to negotiate in an individual contract or that the law offers you the right. You can get more days off or a week of work shorter than the legal minimum. Among other things, the law does not mention overtime compensation, but only the number of hours allowed. To see and calculate how your income would be affected in different situations, depending on whether or not you have a collective agreement, visit knegdeg.se, a website run by PTK on behalf of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers and other organizations. The Swedish Association of Industrialists is bound by thirteen collective agreements. Seven of them are employment contracts. The Industrial Workers` Union Metall is the opponent in five agreements, Pappers (The Swedish Paper Workers Union), GS (Swedish Union of Forestry Workers, Wood and Graphic Designers) in one and SEKO (Union of Service and Communication Employees) in two.