The SAS strike has been called off after the parties reached agreement on Thursday afternoon following 36 hours of intensive negotiations in Oslo, announced SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson at a press conference late last night.
The conflict has concerned pilots’ demands for better working conditions with longer notice for schedules and guarantees that their jobs will not be handed to low-waged employees, as well as a 13 per cent wage rise. SAS was prepared to go with 2.3 per cent and the pilots received 3.5 per cent. Rickard Gustafson said the pilots have been given a guarantee that their jobs will not be contracted out to low-salary companies and will be given better conditions for planning their rotas.
The CEO also said the new agreement gives the company the potential to plan in the long term and to plan for fossil free travel. He also said it could take a day before operations are back to normal.
In a letter, around 90 Nordic companies and organisations – backed by the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the Confederation of Danish Industry and Marcus Wallenberg – have demanded tougher climate targets from the EU. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has declined to sign the letter.
Nina Ekelund, secretary general of the Haga Initiative, which has been pursuing the issue, comments, “Not taking the issue of climate [change] seriously entails huge risks and missed business opportunities.”
Maria Sunér Fleming, from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise says the organisation does not “generally sign collective calls”. “One reason is that we have 60,000 members and have difficulty ensuring that everyone backs the content.” She says that does not mean that the organisation does not support tougher climate goals.
Former Social Democratic prime minister Göran Persson has accepted the nomination committee’s proposal to become the next chairman of Swedbank’s board.
Before he takes up the position, the proposal needs to pass an extraordinary general meeting. He also needs to leave his current posts, which include membership of the board of Ålandsbanken.
Dagens Industri (DI) writes that with Göran Persson as chair, there is a risk of a further conflict of interest arising in relation to the Financial Supervisory Authority (FI). When Göran Persson was prime minister, he worked closely with FI’s current chair, Sven-Erik Österberg. Göran Persson left politics after losing the election in 2006, but their contact continued long after this.
If a conflict of interest is considered to arise, it could mean neither FI’s director general nor chair may participate in decisions concerning the bank.
The pilot strike at SAS continues and the airline has cancelled a further 1,213 departures today and tomorrow, affecting 110,000 passengers.
In a press release the airline writes: “We are deeply sorry that our customers are affected by the ongoing pilot strike, which is leading to delays and cancelled flights.”
1,600 pilots have been on strike since Friday and between Friday and Sunday 1,589 departures were cancelled. The strike is due to a union dispute over major differences in the understanding of what a pilot earns and by how much salaries ought to be raised.
The Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises’ head of negotiation Torbjörn Granevärn says the union’s actions are extreme and if the demand for a salary increase of 13 per cent was introduced it would threaten SAS’s existence
The government has presented its directive for a review of labour laws, charging an inquiry to propose an easing of the Last In First Out (LIFO) rules and lower redundancy costs.
Announcing the news on Thursday, Social Democratic Employment Minister Ylva Johansson admitted that parts of the directive are troublesome for the party, but said the government was meeting the terms of the January agreement.
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt has threatened to call for a vote of no confidence in the government, if it presents such a bill in Parliament.
The inquiry will present its findings by May 2020 and a law change will come into effect in 2021, according to plans.
Ukraine’s newly-elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky may experience difficulties in implementing major reforms, warn experts. If he is unable to convince parliament to adopt new anti-corruption legislation soon, a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be stopped, writes the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, before explaining that in 2018 Ukraine and the IMF agreed on a new USD 3.9 billion programme of financial assistance. Disbursement of the next payment, planned in May, is conditional on new anti-bribery legislation, however.
The programme replaced a former facility of USD 40 billion agreed in 2015, under which Sweden pledged USD 100 million – funds that have not been paid out as yet, since an agreement has not been reached between the countries.
“The ball is in Ukraine’s court,” says Daniel Sunesson, director at the Ministry of Finance.
In order for a payment to be disbursed, an agreement must also be approved by the Swedish Parliament.
Economists are forecasting that Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, will leave the benchmark repo rate unchanged at a negative 0.25 per cent on Thursday, postponing a tightening of monetary policy.
The inflation rate has come in lower than expected in recent months, which leads SEB economist Robert Bergqvist to believe that the repo rate will be raised first in April 2020.
Annika Winsth, chief economist at Nordea, who believes the Swedish economy will slow down this year, does not expect the central bank to raise rates before July 2020.
Ahead of Wednesday’s five-party meeting between the Social Democrats, Greens, Centre Party, Christian Democrats and Moderates to discuss Sweden’s energy supply, Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson has said his party will walk away from an agreement struck in 2016, unless promises are made to invest in nuclear power.
Linda Burenius, chair of the Swedish Wind Energy Association (Svensk Vindenergi), is alarmed by the threat, urging politicians to support the agreement and to focus on a number of growing challenges, including that of the energy supply. She says investor confidence in Sweden would be damaged, if the agreement is broken, and would complicate the switchover to renewable energy, as well as the security of the electricity supply.
In mid-March, after repeated problems, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) decided to terminate its contract with one of its primary suppliers for the construction of a tunnel as part of the Stockholm Bypass (Förbifarten Stockholm) project.
Vianini Lavori, which with a second Italian firm won the contract to build a tunnel under the island of Lovön, has since filed a lawsuit in an Italian court, claiming damages of EUR 80 million from the Swedish authority over the contract’s termination.
The Transport Administration, which was informed of the lawsuit on Tuesday, is now in talks with the Office of the Chancellor of Justice to decide how to handle the matter.
Around one million Swedish companies have been affected by the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket).
In a fresh report, the agency forecasts that annual, administrative costs for GDPR, including adaptation of IT systems, in Sweden are likely to be in the region of SEK 6.6 billion.
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