Sweden: Striking miners get quick results

Company promises new negotiations

The miners’ strike in northern Sweden has been suspended following promises of new local wage negotiations. The strike in Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara went on for just over two days and was totally solid among the 1,800 workers the whole time. The company has been forced to back off from their refusal to negotiate locally and within 5-10 minutes the strikers were back at work.

Striking miner, Sixten Snell, commented, "This was what we were aiming for".

Most miners see this as a victory for the strike, but they are also prepared to restart their action if the negotiations do not deliver a decent offer. As one of them said, "Now, we know how to do it."

The local trade union representatives now expect meaningful negotiations, starting Thursday. Harry Rantkyrö, local chairman of the branch in Kiruna, also sends thanks to all solidarity letters sent to the local unions.

Offensiv and Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) received strong appreciation when solidarity messages were distributed amongst the workers at the mining company’s gates in Kiruna. We gave wide coverage to the miners’ action in our weekly paper, Offensiv, which we took (more than 1,000 kilometres, by air!) to Kiruna on Wednesday morning. We also had the opportunity to put our point of view on the main national television news on Monday night when Jonas Brännberg, an RS councillor in Lulea (also in the northern region) was interviewed for several minutes.

This demonstration that decisive industrial action gets results could have widespread repercussions in other industries and workplaces where workers are not happy with the contracts being negotiated.

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May 2007
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