international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Sweden: The right of a trade union to consult under the Co-determination Act shall ensure the right to freedom of association for their members and shall limit the need for industrial actions

An employer’s organisation did not enter into consultations regarding a central collective bargaining agreement with a trade union within the statutory time limit of three weeks set out in the Co-determination Act. The organisation deemed that the obligation to consult under the Act mainly concerned local agreements and insisted that the application of the same rules on central agreements would be too burdensome. The Labour Court determined that the rules on consultations under the Act should be interpreted in the light of their function and the right to freedom of association. The Labour Court found that the purpose of the rules were to limit the need for a trade union to take industrial actions and that a trade union had a right to consult on behalf of its members in order to ensure their freedom of association. Thus, the Labour Court found that the Act grants trade unions a right to consult regarding both local and central agreements. Therefore, the employer’s organisation had an obligation under the Act to enter into consultations and should pay damages amounting to SEK 20,000 to the trade union for their failure to do so.