If you work for a company without a collective agreement, there may be a good level of benefits in the form of an occupational retirement solution, a salary supplement on parental leave and an annual salary review. Typically, these are governed by an employer-designed policy. Therefore, the employer can unilaterally and at any time decide to change the terms of the worst – without negotiating with you. We offer support and advice to our members on such matters. The key level of collective bargaining in Sweden is the sectoral level, although more than 90% of employees determine part of their salary through negotiations at local level and 8% have set their entire salary at local level. The overall coverage rate of collective agreements is high – estimated at 90%. The extent to which sectoral agreements set wages at the local level varies widely. At one end of the spectrum, there are those for whom the national agreement does not set a wage increase, but leaves them entirely to local negotiations without an amount determined at the national level. On the other hand, there are those for whom the national agreement sets a common increase for all workers.
Overall, in its report on the 2012 negotiations, the national conciliation body estimated that 11% of all workers were covered by agreements leaving wage setting entirely at the local level and 11% by agreements that set a national increase without local differences2. All contractual benefits and rights are automatically included in your employment contract. The collective agreement also means that, for the good of you and your employees, dialogue and collective bargaining ensure insight and influence, for example upstream of important decisions and changes in the workplace or in the industry. The agreements protect against discrimination in the workplace and guarantee compensation in the event of illness, death and accidents at work. Collective agreements are signed for certain periods, usually between two and four years. A collective agreement is binding both for the employers` organisation and its members, on the one hand, and for the trade union and its members, on the other. In addition, in practice, if not theoretically, a collective agreement binds non-unionized and unionized workers belonging to unions other than the union that is part of the agreement, provided that (i) the worker works with tasks covered by the contract and (ii) the union to which the worker belongs, he is not bound by another collective agreement with the employer. Collective agreements can make a big difference to your wallet. For this way, workers who have a collective agreement receive higher benefits when they stay at home with sick children, get sick themselves or have the bad luck of suffering an accident at work. Your pension is also positively influenced by collective agreements and the difference can amount to hundreds of thousands of crowns the day you stop working. The coverage of the negotiations is high. The National Conciliation Office (Medlingsinstitutet), established in 2000, reports that 88% of employees are covered by collective agreements, 83% in the private sector and 100% in the public sector1.
Nevertheless, a number of non-conventional framework agreements between trade unions and employers still exist at national level, such as the 1982 Efficiency and Participation Agreement, and new agreements remain signed outside the wage sphere. Thus, a new national agreement on the pensions of 700,000 private sector employees was concluded in 2006, and in September 2012, the Swedish Confederation of Entrepreneurs began negotiations with PTK, the negotiating group that brings together TCO and Saco, on new redundancy agreements. . . .