The level of union membership in Sweden is high – at 68% – and, although it has fallen from its peak of 85% in 1993, it has been broadly stable since 2008. There are three main union confederations, LO, TCO and Saco, which are divided along occupational and educational lines in line with the traditional way in which Swedish employees are grouped, and there is considerable co-operation between them.
There are some 3.6 million trade unionists in Sweden and, although there are a number of non-employed members, particularly students and pensioners, the level of union organisation is high. According to the most comprehensive regular study of union density, undertaken by Anders Kjellberg at Lund University, it was 68% in 2019. Figures from the Labour Force Survey produce a union density figure of 65.2% in 2019; and the estimate from the ICTWSS database of industrial relations statistics is that union density was 65.6% in 2017.
There are three main union confederations in Sweden, each dealing with a different part of the occupational structure. The largest is now TCO, which has 1,417,889 members and organises mostly non-manual workers. The second largest, which was toppled from its leading position by TCO for the first time in 2019, is LO which has 1,410,606 members and organises manual workers. The smallest confederation is Saco which organises graduate employees. It has 706,306 members. (All figures are for the end of 2019.)
There is also a managers’ association Ledarna, which is outside the three confederations and had 92,882 members at the end of 2019. Other smaller bodies outside the main confederations include the pilots’ union, unions which organise fire fighters and dockers, and the radical SAC union, known as the sindicalists.
The figures quoted above are total membership figures. The number of union members active in the labour market, excluding students and pensioners, is lower, and on this basis, on the Lund University figures, although not on the basis of the Labour Force Survey, LO regains the top spot. It has 1,222,830 economically active members, slightly more than TCO, which has 1,109,766. Saco with 548,016 economically active members has around half the number of the other two. (All figures are for end 2019.)
The balance of membership between the three confederations has changed in recent years, with Saco and TCO growing and LO losing members (see below).
Relations between the federations are generally good and there are agreements between most LO and TCO unions to help resolve potential conflicts over membership. There is, however, greater scope for competition between TCO and Saco as many employees can choose between unions in either confederation, and there are comparison websites, which allow potential members to assess the relative benefits offered by competing unions. In practice employees, however, will normally join the union which has a collective agreement with their employer.
Both the LO and the TCO are broadly structured on an industry basis while Saco is based on its members’ occupations.
The two largest unions in LO are the local authority workers’ union, Kommunal, with 502,899 members, of whom 500,560 are active, and IF Metall, which has 305,904 members (241,951 economically active) and organises in the metal, building components, textile and clothing industries. These two are followed by the retail union, Handels, with 154,388 members (122,274 economically active), the construction union Byggnads, with 104,283 (80,472 economically active), and the service and communications union, SEKO, with 103,046 (70,818 economically active). All these figures are for 31 December 2019. In total, LO has 14 affiliated unions.
By far the largest TCO union is Unionen, which organises administrative and technical employees in industry as well as workers in retail and distribution. It has 675,506 members, of whom 566,331 are economically active, and is the largest union in Sweden. The next largest is the TCO teachers’ union, Lärarförbundet, with 232,407 members (160,502 economically active). The third-largest is Vision, the union for non-manual local and central government employees, which has 198,945 members, including 138,603 economically active members.  The fourth largest TCO affiliate is Vårdförbundet, which organises nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals. It has 114,033 members, of whom 91,180 are economically active. These figures also relate to 31 December 2019, and, like LO, TCO has 14 affiliated unions.
Saco’s biggest union is Sveriges Ingenjörer, the association of graduate engineers with 154,829 members (127,429 economically active),and, following a merger between two Saco affiliates on 1 January 2020, the second largest is Akavia. This brought together the lawyers’, managers’ and computer experts’ union, Jusek, with the economists’ union, Civilekonomerna. Akavia has 133,767 members, of whom 97,173 are economically active. Other major Saco unions are another teachers’ union, LR, with 91,270 members (63,793 economically active) and Akademikerförbundet, which has 72,7458 members (56,799 economically active) and organises social scientists. Following the merger of Jusek and Civilekonomerna to create Akavia, Saco has 21 affiliated unions.
The ending of centralised bargaining has reduced the power of the confederations and individual unions now have greater room for manoeuvre and greater influence, although the confederations still play a role in co-ordinating union claims (see section on collective bargaining). Overall, individual unions have considerable independence. One clear example was the decision of LO’s two largest unions, Kommunal and IF Metall in December 2020 to reach an agreement with the employers on new employment protection legislation, which had previously been rejected by LO as a whole. Although the new deal had been revised, a majority of LO unions remained opposed to the agreement signed by Kommunal and IF Metall.
The LO has a long tradition of a close relationship with the Swedish Social Democrats. LO’s president, its most senior figure, is a member of the party’s executive. The ties have, however, loosened over time. The two other confederations stress their party-political independence.
The proportion of employees who are union members has fallen in recent years from a high point of 85% in 1993, although at 68% it remains high.
Until the change of government in 2006, the decline was relatively slow and in part reflected changes in the labour market. LO lost 160,000 members and TCO 16,000 between 2001 and 2006, while Saco’s graduate membership increased by 72,000 over the same five-year period. However, between 2006 and 2008 the unions’ membership situation deteriorated sharply as the centre-right government altered the legislation on unemployment benefit insurance, which is often paid together with union membership contributions. The consequence was that overall union density fell from 77% in 2006 to 71% in 2008. The decline in union density was greater in the private sector, where it fell from 71% in 2006 to 65% in 2008, than in the public sector, where there was a drop from 88% to 84% over the same period. LO was much more severely affected than the other confederations, losing 11% of its membership over the period, while membership losses at TCO were just 7% and the was a slight increase in membership in Saco unions.
Since then, the previous pattern of losses at LO being more than compensated by gains elsewhere has re-emerged. Using figures for economically active members, LO lost 162,000 members between 2008 and 2019, while TCO increased its membership by 152,000 and Saco by 119,000. Including other unions, principally the managers’ association Ledarna, this means that the number of economically active trade unionists was 4% higher, at 2,981,423, in 2019 than it had been in 2008. However, the total number of employees increased by 12% over the same period, with the result that overall union density, as calculated in the Lund University study, has slipped from 71% in 2008 to 68% in 2019.
Union density is higher in the public sector (79%) than in the private sector (63%) and overall non-manual workers, with 72% union density, are more likely to be in unions than manual workers, with 60% union density. This is true in both the private sector, where 57% of manual workers and 67% of non-manual workers are in unions, and in the public sector, where 72% of manual workers and 81% of non-manual workers are organised.  (All figures are for 2019.)
Figures from the three confederations indicate that the majority of trade unionists in Sweden are women. In LO, women are in a minority, making up 46% of total membership. However, women account for 59% of the membership of TCO unions and 54% of Saco’s membership. Union density is also higher among women, at 72%, than among men, at 64%.
 Den svenska modellen i en oviss tid: Fack, arbetsgivare och kollektivavtal på en föränderlig arbetsmarknad by Anders Kjellberg,Lund University, 2020 https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/en/publications/den-svenska-modellen-i-en-oviss-tid(11ad3d7f-b363-4e46-834f-cae7013939dc).html (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Employees aged 15-74 (LFS), 1000s by type of employment, main union organisation, sex and year (own calculations), Statistics Sweden
 Jelle Visser, ICTWSS Data base. Version 6.1. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies AIAS. October 2019
 Figures from union websites https://www.lo.se/start/lo_fakta/lo_forbundens_medlemsantal_2011_2019
https://www.saco.se/om-saco/medlemsstatistik/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 For an analysis of the situation and development of trade unions in Sweden see Why no wage solidarity writ large? Swedish trade unionism under conditions of European crisis by Erik Bengtsson and Magnus Ryner in Rough waters: European trade unions in a time of crises, edited by Steffen Lehndorff, Heiner Dribbusch and Thorsten Schulten, ETUI, 2018
 Ledarnas Årsredovisning 2019 https://www.ledarna.se/globalassets/dokument/ledarnas-arsredovisning-2019.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Tables 15.4 to 15.6 Medlingsinstitutet, February 2020 https://www.mi.se/alla-vara-arsrapporter/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Figures for total membership from LO-förbundens medlemsantal 2011-2019 https://www.lo.se/start/lo_fakta/lo_forbundens_medlemsantal_2011_2019 (Accessed 17.12.2020); figures for active membership from Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Table 15.4 )
 Årsrapport Unionen 2019 https://www.unionen.se/sites/default/files/files/Arsrapport2019_200515_low_0.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Lärarförbundets årsredovisning över 2019 https://www.lararforbundet.se/artikelsidor/aarsredovisning-2019 (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Årsrapport 2019 Vision https://vision.se/contentassets/251c725eabb9468d83692349606a5dbb/hr_vb_ar_2019_digital_underskrift.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
Vårdförbundets Årsberättelse 2019 https://www.vardforbundet.se/siteassets/om-vardforbundet/verksamhetsberattelser/arsberattelse-2019.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020) and from Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Table 15.5
 Figures for total membership form Saco website https://www.saco.se/om-saco/medlemsstatistik/ (Accessed 17.12.2020) figures for active membership from Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Table 15.6 )
 Majoritet av LO-förbunden negativa till las-avtal, Arbetaren, 9 December 2020 https://www.arbetaren.se/2020/12/09/majoritet-av-lo-forbunden-negativa-till-las-avtal/
 Den svenska modellen i en oviss tid: Fack, arbetsgivare och kollektivavtal på en föränderlig arbetsmarknad by Anders Kjellberg,Lund University, 2020 Table 21
 ibid Table 65
 ibid Table 1.1 and Statistics Sweden Employees aged 15-74 Labour Force survey
 Union representation, Statistics Sweden https://www.scb.se/hitta-statistik/temaomraden/jamstalldhet/jamn-fordelning-av-makt-och-inflytande/facklig-representation/#129749 (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Den svenska modellen i en oviss tid: Fack, arbetsgivare och kollektivavtal på en föränderlig arbetsmarknad by Anders Kjellberg,Lund University, 2020 Table 1.1
The key level for collective bargaining in Sweden is the industry level, although, within the industry-level framework, around 91% of employees have part of their pay determined by local level negotiations, and 28% have all their pay determined locally. The overall level of coverage of collective agreements is high – estimated at 88%.
Traditionally collective bargaining in the private sector has taken place at three levels: between the union confederations and the main employers’ association, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv – SN) at national level; between the individual unions or groups of unions and employers’ industry associations at industry level; and between the company and the local union at local level.
For around 30 years between 1956 and the late 1980s the key bargaining level was national, with deals covering the whole economy. However, this era has now ended, with the first major break from this pattern coming in 1983 in the metalworking sector.
Wage bargaining no longer takes place at national level, although LO, the manual workers’ union confederation, still has a coordinating role when wage claims are drawn up. (The two non-manual confederations, TCO and Saco, do not have a co-ordinating role.) However, negotiations on non-wage issues have continued at national level, and agreements signed at this level in the past still provide key employee rights. Examples of the issues covered by these agreements include occupational pensions, sickness insurance, parental benefits, death in service benefits and work injury insurance.
An indication of the role that national level negotiations can play is shown by the discussions on employment protection in 2020, Having made a political commitment to change to Sweden’s employment protection legislation, the government handed the issue over to the unions and employers at national level, to reach an agreement on the details. The agreement which emerged from these negotiations in December 2020, was not signed by LO, but it was accepted by Kommunal and IF Metall, LO’s two largest affiliates, and by PTK, which brings together non-manual unions in the private sector. The government has indicated that that agreement will the basis for future legislation.
However, while national negotiations are important in setting the framework, industry-level negotiations have the key role in setting pay, although there is still some co-ordination at national level, as well as a lot of room for variation at company or organisation level. The annual reports from the National Mediation Office (Medlingsinstitutet), which was set up in 2000, show that around 60 unions and 55 employers’ associations are involved in bargaining at industry level. However, most unions work together in permanent bargaining groups, like PTK for non-manual private sector workers (see section on who negotiates and when).
The existence of these permanent bargaining groups, which brings together unions from different confederations, helps to reinforce national bargaining co-ordination. It is further strengthened by the view that the pay increases agreed for manufacturing industry should set the upper limit for pay increases elsewhere in the economy. This idea that no pay increases should be higher than those for industries that face international competition goes back to the industry agreement of 1997 and is generally accepted by both unions and employers.
There is similar difference between manual workers and non-manual workers, whose pay is negotiated in separate agreements, in terms of the level at which pay increases are set. Manual workers are more likely to have their pay increases determined in the industry agreements themselves, while non-manual workers have their pay increases agreed locally. In 2019, pay increases for 42% of manual workers were set either entirely or partially in industry agreements (categories 6 and 7) and none were in category 1 – just local negotiation. In contrast just 1% of non-manual workers saw their pay set directly in agreements, and 55% manual workers depended on local negotiations for a pay increase.
Agreements cover all employees of an employer, who has either signed an agreement or is a member of an employers’ association signing an agreement, whether or not the individual is a member of the union.
There is no mechanism for extending collective agreements to employers who are not party to the agreement. However, a high proportion (around 82%) of employees in the private sector work for employers who are covered by collective bargaining, as do 100% of workers in the public sector. As a result, overall bargaining coverage is high, at 88%, a figures which has remined virtually unchanged for 10 years.
Unlike many other countries, Sweden does not have a tripartite consultation structure bringing together unions, employers and the government. Swedish unions and employers are reluctant to see government encroachment into areas of industrial relations they consider should be reserved to them.
Who negotiates and when?
National-level agreements, which now only deal with the industrial relations framework have, in the past, typically been negotiated between the main private sector employers’ association SN, on one side, and LO, the manual workers’ union confederation, and PTK, the negotiating group of non-manual unions in the private sector, on the other. However, the agreement on employment protection, reached in December 2020, was signed by PTK and LO’s two largest affiliates, not LO as a whole.
At industry level, negotiations are between the employers’ associations – there are very few companies which negotiate directly with the unions, although the airline SAS is one – and national level unions. The unions work together in permanent negotiating groupings to draw up a common platform for negotiations with the employers, although individual unions are able to act individually and agreements are signed by individual unions. These negotiating groupings include unions from all three union confederations operating in the negotiating area concerned, plus, in some cases, the managers’ union Ledarna.
Negotiations at company or organisation level on the implementation of industry-level deals take place between the individual employer and the local union organisation (“the club” – see section on workplace representation). However, as the ETUI study on collective bargaining points out, where there is no union club, a union official from the local or regional branch of the union will often negotiate how the deal is to be implemented. In addition, in some cases, pay increases will be decided in discussions between the employer and the individual employee. The National Mediation Office describes this as the “salary interview model”.
Pay agreements typically run for three years. For a period following the economic crisis, agreements ran for shorter periods, but since 2013, the three-year cycle has returned. The COVID-19 pandemic meant a delay in negotiations on agreements due to start in spring 2020, but when the settlements were concluded later in the year, negotiators adjusted the length of the agreements so that they again ended in spring 2023, three years after the normal starting point. (Not all agreements have the same three-year cycle, but most do. In 2017, 497 agreements, covering 2.3 million employees were signed in 2017 – equivalent to almost three-quarters of all agreements and two-thirds of employees covered.
Most agreements start in the spring, in March, April and May, and both sides normally try to reach a new agreement before the old one has expired. This is specifically stated as an objective in the industry agreement, as well as several others and, in the 2017 bargaining round, 76% of all employees were covered by agreements reached either before the old ones expired (31%), or within three weeks of their doing so (46%).
The subject of the negotiations
As already stated, a range of issues, such as topping up sick pay, compensation for accidents or pension levels that exceed state provision, both for disability and in old age, are dealt with through national level bargaining.
Industry-level agreements primarily cover pay and working time, including details of both minimum rates and pay for more experienced workers, overtime and standby rates, the length and scheduling of working hours, and holidays and holiday pay. However, they also cover issues like pensions and training, pay for travelling time, the employer’s right to plan working time and the return of the long-term unemployed to the labour market.
Local level negotiations cover the implementation on industry-level agreements, and local union organisations are also involved in negotiating change at their workplace (see section on workplace representation).
Sweden does not have a statutory minimum wage, with both unions and employers agreed that pay levels should be determined through collective bargaining.
 For a detailed examination of collective bargaining in Sweden see Sweden: collective bargaining under the industry norm by Anders Kjellberg in Collective bargaining in Europe: towards an endgame, edited by Torsten Müller, Kurt Vandaele and Jeremy Waddington, ETUI, 2019
 Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Page 162 Medlingsinstitutet, February 2020 https://www.mi.se/alla-vara-arsrapporter/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Regeringen välkomnar las-överenskommelsen, SVT Nyheter, 4 December 2020 https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/statsministern-kommenterar-las-overenskommelsen (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 See, for example, Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, page 191 Medlingsinstitutet, February 2020 https://www.mi.se/alla-vara-arsrapporter/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Den svenska modellen i en oviss tid: Fack, arbetsgivare och kollektivavtal på en föränderlig arbetsmarknad by Anders Kjellberg,Lund University, 2020 Charts 14 and 15 https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/en/publications/den-svenska-modellen-i-en-oviss-tid(11ad3d7f-b363-4e46-834f-cae7013939dc).html (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 See for example the Swedish Unions within Industry (Facken inom industrin) http://www.fackeninomindustrin.se/om-oss/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Sweden: collective bargaining under the industry norm by Anders Kjellberg in Collective bargaining in Europe: towards an endgame, edited by Torsten Müller, Kurt Vandaele and Jeremy Waddington, ETUI, 2019
 Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2019 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, page 133 Medlingsinstitutet, February 2020
 Avtalsrörelsen och lönebildningen 2017 Medlingsinstitutets årsrapport, Table 4.1 Medlingsinstitutet, February 2018
 Ibid Chart 8.1
Workplace representation for employees in Sweden is through the local union at the workplace. There is no other channel. Legislation requires the employer to inform and negotiate with the unions at the workplace before making major changes, and many of the practical arrangements for doing so, which elsewhere in Europe are fixed by law, are left in Sweden to local negotiations.
In Sweden it is trade unions who provide employee representation at work. There is no separately elected structure along the lines of the works councils which exist in many other European states. This reflects the Swedish model, in which key aspects of industrial relations are determined directly between employers and trade unions, with limited involvement by the state. It is also possible thanks to the high level of union density (68% in 2019 – see section on unions), which means that in most workplaces unions represent the vast majority of employees.
However, although the Swedish model is built on trust between the parties and union strength, the structure of employee representation at work is underpinned by three pieces of legislation, which were passed in the 1970s, although they have subsequently been amended. These are: the Co-determination in Working Life Act (MBL), passed in 1976; the Position of Trade Union Representatives in the Workplace Act (FML), passed in 1974; and Work Environment Act (AML), passed in 1977. The Work Environment Act deals with health and safety, but it is an important aspect of employee representation at the workplace, as the local union representative is frequently also the local health and safety/work environment representative.
However, this legislation, particularly Co-determination in Working Life Act (MBL), is much less prescriptive than comparable legislation in other countries, leaving the details to be decided between the employer and the union. Under Section 11 of the MBL the employer is obliged to initiate negotiations with the union before taking “any decision regarding significant changes in its activities” or “regarding significant changes in working or employment conditions”. However, with some exceptions (see Tasks and rights, below), the precise nature of these changes is not spelled out in the legislation. In any case, if the union wants to negotiate a change affecting their members that the employer does not consider “significant”, it can still do so under Section 12 of the MBL, which gives the union the right to request that negotiations be opened before the employer “takes or implements a decision that concerns a member of the organisation [the union]”.
However, the rights in Sections 11 and 12 of the MBL are limited to unions with which the employer already has a collective agreement, and, although there are some exceptions (see below), the principle, that workplace representation is through the union with which the employer already negotiates, is central to the Swedish system.
As well as having more extensive negotiating rights under the MBL, the co-determination legislation, unions which have a collective agreement covering the employer are also the only bodies which can appoint representatives under the FML, the separate legislation covering trade union representatives in the workplace. And it is also unions with an agreement covering the employer which initially appoint safety representatives under the work Environment Act, the AML.
In practice, workplaces are likely to have representatives from several unions. The horizontally segregated structure of Swedish unions, with separate union confederations for manual, non-manual and graduate employees, as well as a substantial managers’ union outside the three confederations, means that larger employers will have separate collective agreements with three or possibly four unions. Each of these will have negotiation and representation rights.
Where a union does not have a collective agreement which covers the employer, its position is much weaker. It does not have the right to appoint a workplace representative under the FML, and it has fewer negotiating rights under the MBL. The employer still has an obligation to negotiate in respect of the working or employment conditions of individual employees, who are members of that union. But there is no obligation to negotiate about the employer’s own activities, if the union does not have a collective agreement covering the employer.
There are also specific provisions to deal with redundancies and business transfers, two topics covered by EU legislation, when an employer is not covered by any collective agreement. In such cases, under Section 13 of the MBL, the issue must be negotiated with “all affected employees’ organisations”, in other words with all the unions with members in the workplace who are affected by either the redundancy or the business transfer.
However, these are exceptions. In most cases the employer will only negotiate changes at the workplace with the unions who signed its industry-level collective agreement. (Overall, 88% of employees are covered by collective bargaining.)
It is also important to emphasise that although the employer has an obligation to negotiate, there is no obligation for these negotiations to end with an agreement, and that, other than in a few circumstances (see below), the union has no veto powers over the employers' plans. The ultimate right of management to manage, initially recognised more than a century ago in the central collective agreement of 1906 – the so-called “December compromise”, still applies. Indeed, even where an employer takes a decision before negotiating – and so potentially acts contrary to the MBL (the legislation allows action before negotiations in extraordinary circumstances) – the decision is not invalid. Instead, the employer must fulfil the negotiating obligations. Failure to do so can result in substantial damages.
Although there is no legal obligation to set up employee representation at the workplace in Sweden, the results of Eurofound’s 2013 and 2019 European Company Surveys show it is found widely. In 2013, 54% of establishments in Sweden with at least 10 employees had a trade union representative. This was well above the EU28 average for employee representation of 32%.
The comparable figure for 2019 is lower at 50% in Sweden, but this may partially reflect differences in how the information was collected, and, again, Sweden is above the EU27 average of 29%. As elsewhere in Europe, larger organisations are more likely to have such a structure than smaller ones. The 2019 survey shows that 88% of establishments with more than 250 employees had a trade union representative, and that in those with between 50 and 249 employees, the percentage of workplaces with a representative was 67%. In smaller workplaces in Sweden, those with between 10 and 49 employees, the survey indicates that close to half (46%) had a trade union representative.
Numbers and structure
There are no rules about the numbers of union representatives who must be appointed in a workplace, and there is no employment threshold above which a workplace requires a union representative. The only link to employee numbers, other than that for employee representatives at board level (see section on Board-level representation), is in the Work Environment Act, which states that one or more safety (work environment) representatives must be appointed in a workplace “where at least five employees are regularly employed” and that a safety committee should be set up when there are at least 50 regular employees (AML Chapter 6, Sections 2 and 8).
However, effectively there are some limits on the numbers, as the legislation on trade union representation in the workplace states that leave for union tasks “may not be greater than is reasonable with regard to the conditions in the workplace” (FML Section 6A).
The legislation similarly provides no guidance on how trade union representation at the workplace should be organised. This is left to individual unions, whose rules differ, as a comparison of Sweden’s three largest unions indicates.
Unionen, the largest union in Sweden with 566,000 economically active non-manual members, states in its rules that “clubs [groups of union members in the same workplace] and workplace representatives are the union's bodies in the workplaces”, and a club can be formed if there are at least five Unionen members at the workplace and they agree to its formation at a meeting. If there is no club, members can appoint representatives. The club board, elected by the members, is responsible for negotiations with the employer, but this responsibility can be taken on by union representatives, if there is no club, provided this has been specifically agreed at the annual union meeting. At the end of 2019, there were 2,710 union clubs (fackliga klubbar) and 3,471 union representatives (arbetsplatsombud) in Unionen.
Kommunal, the largest union in the LO manual workers’ confederation with 501,000 economically active members, has a potentially more flexible structure of workplace organisation, with members able to organise in clubs, negotiating groups or other groupings. The precise form is decided in consultation between the members involved and the leadership of the section, covering a larger workplace or employer. Elected representatives in the section are responsible for representing members’ interests in relation to the employer, and individual workplace representatives are given authority to negotiation on operational issues once they have completed union training. At the end of 2019, Kommunal had 24,097 individual workplace representatives, 102 clubs and 239 sections.
The workplace organisation structure in IF Metall, the largest manual private sector union with 242,000 economically active members, is similar to that in Unionen, with clubs in larger workplaces and individual representatives in smaller ones. However, under IF Metall’s rules, individual representatives do not have responsibility for negotiations with the employer. If there is no club, all local negotiating tasks, including those relating to operational changes, are taken on by the higher levels of the union. At the end of 2019, IF Metall had 1,348 clubs and 3,644 individual representatives.
The fact that employers are covered by separate agreements for different sections of their employees – manual, non-manual, graduate staff and management – means that in a single workplace several unions will have the right to appoint workplace representatives. On some issues, the employer must negotiate with them separately, but unions will often come together for issues which affect them all.
Tasks and rights
Trade union representatives at workplace have a wide range of tasks. As representatives of the union, they pass on information about what the union is doing, tell members how they can influence union decisions and try to recruit new members. They also have a key role on behalf of their fellow workers, dealing with the employer (see below), and letting the union know what members want. If they have a right under the union’s rules to negotiate individually, they will negotiate a range of issues with the employer, and, if this is not the case, it is likely that they will be part of the union club at the workplace that will negotiate with the employer.
Trade union rights at the workplace vary, depending on whether the union concerned has signed a collective agreement with the employer. This section initially sets out the situation where the employer is covered by a collective agreement with the union concerned – normally through an industry-level agreement with the employers’ association to which the employer belongs. The much more limited rights available to a union which does not have an agreement covering the employer are set out at the end of this section. The main statutory basis for both sets of rights is the Co-determination in Working Life Act 1976 – the MBL.
For unions with a collective agreement with the employer, negotiations in the workplace are normally divided into three main blocks:
- dispute negotiations – where the aim is to reach an agreement or consensus on how agreements or legal rules that have already been reached are to be interpreted and applied (Section 10 MBL);
- negotiations of interest – where the two sides seek to reach an agreement on a local issue which has not previously been agreed (Section 10 MBL); and
- co-determination negotiations – where the union is seeking to influence the employers’ decisions (Sections 11 and 12 of the MBL).
Dispute negotiations cover issues where either the union or the employer feels that the law or the collective agreement has been breached. Examples from the union can include unfair dismissals, failure to follow redundancy procedures, failure to pay agreed wages, employing temporary workers in breach of collective agreements and incorrect holiday entitlement. Employer may raise issues relating to employees’ behaviour. These negotiations are subject to specific time limits (Section 16 MBL); the parties must provide copies of the documents referred to in the negotiations (Section 18); and, as in other negotiations, the parties must appear at the negotiations and “put forward a reasoned proposal for a solution of the matter to which the negotiations relate” (Section 15).
Under the Swedish system, many issues which, in other countries, would move immediately to the labour courts or some other part of the court system, are dealt with through negotiations between the employer and the union. These negotiations take place initially at local level, although often with support from regional union officials. However, if local negotiations are unsuccessful the issue can be passed up the chain to the national level, and it is normally only if these national negotiations fail that the issue goes to the Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen).
Negotiations of interest fall into two main categories. The first concerns the elements of the national collective agreement left for local resolution. Most national negotiations provide for some aspects of how the pay increase is to be distributed to be decided through local negotiations (see section on collective bargaining, although, particularly in the public sector, union paid officials may also be involved in these local deals. The second category of negotiations of interest relates to issues like the level of IT support, the procedure for dealing with violence from clients and skills development, where agreement may be possible. These are areas where both sides will see the benefit of an agreement, as the unions’ possibility of bringing pressure to bear on the employer is limited because of the obligation to maintain industrial peace while the industry-level collective agreement is in force. In negotiations of interest there is no recourse to the courts.
Co-determination negotiations are intended to allow unions to influence the employer’s decisions and activities. These are the issues which in many other countries are covered by the works councils’ right to be informed and consulted.
Section 11 of the MBL requires the employer to take the initiative and open negotiations with the union before taking any decisions relating to "significant changes” in the employer’s “activities" and before "significant changes in working or employment conditions for employees" who belong to the union. Only where there is an “extraordinary cause” can the employer take and implement a decision before negotiations.
Judgements by the labour court have defined these “significant changes” as including:
- changes in work organisation and methods;
- personnel changes including changes in supervisors;
- the preparation of the annual budget;
- structural changes; and
- alterations in the patterns of recruitment or dismissal.
The employer must also negotiate with the union on issues, which do not involve significant changes, but where the union asks for negotiations, provided the employer’s decisions concern a member of the union (Section 12). Again, the employer cannot take or implement the decision before fulfilling the duty to negotiate (other than in special circumstances).
Negotiations first take place at local level (Section 14) but if agreement cannot be reached the unions have the right to ask for negotiations at national level.
Under the information requirements of the MBL, the employer is obliged to keep the union informed of its general economic situation, production levels and personnel policy. The union should also be given an “opportunity to examine books, accounts, and other documents that concern the employers' business, to the extent required by the union in order to protect the common interests of its members in relation to the employer”. Provided it is reasonable to do so, the employer should provide the unions with copies of the documents they request and help with their examination (Section 19). The information should be provided to the local union in the first instance (Section 20). There are also specific information obligations when employers are planning to dismiss employees because of a lack of work. These include: the reasons for the dismissals, the number and type of employees affected; the number and type of workers normally employed; the period over which the dismissals are planned; and the amount and basis of any compensation to be paid (Section 15).
As well as these statutory obligations, the MBL also provides that a union with a collective agreement on pay and conditions should also be able to request a collective agreement on co-determination “in matters regarding the conclusion and termination of contracts of employment, the management and distribution of work and the operation of the activity in general” (Section 32). This can even go as far agreeing that “decisions that would otherwise be taken by the employer shall be taken by employee representatives or by a joint body specifically constituted for such purpose” (Section 32). However, there are no sanction on employers who refuse to enter into such agreements.
Several agreements on co-determination were reached in the 1980s, most notably the 1982 agreement on efficiency and participation, known in Swedish as the Utvecklingsavtalet (UVA). This was a framework agreement reached between the main Swedish private sector employers’ organisation, on one side, and the LO manual workers confederation and the PTK, the private sector bargaining group of non-manual unions on the other. It was subsequently incorporated into a range of industry level agreements, which remain in force.
The UVA provided further suggestions on the type of information that could be provided to the unions and made it clear that the aim of the agreement was both to secure that the businesses remained efficient, profitable and competitive and to provide security, employment and development at work for employees. The industry-level agreements that have been based on the UVA set out how employees' knowledge can be used in relation to the business's finances, the introduction of new technology and work organisation. They also provide union members with five hours’ paid time-off a year to participate in union meetings
The UVA also included the possibility that, in line with Section 32 of the MBL joint union-employer bodies could be set up to take decisions which would otherwise be taken by the employer alone. However, there is no evidence that joint decision-making bodies of this type have been established.
Instead unions have relied on the more limited rights they have under Sections 11 and 12 of the MBL. These require the employer to open negotiating with the union before making changes, but they do not prevent those changes being made. As the guidance from Sweden’s largest union, Unionen, makes clear, the final decision is taken by the employer: “When the negotiation has been completed, the employer has fulfilled the obligation to negotiate, and if the parties do not agree in the negotiation, the employer decides”.
There is, however, one specific and very limited area where the union has a veto, and two others where it can delay the implementation of the employer’s plans until they have been judged lawful.
The union’s veto right is set out in Sections 38 to 40 of the MBL and relates to the use of sub-contractors. Employers are specifically required to negotiate with the union before a decision is made to hire someone not employed by the employer, unless the work is short-term and temporary, requires specialist skills or the use of sub-contractors has already been agreed by the union. Even where these exceptions apply, the union can still require that negotiations take place. Following the negotiations, the union can veto the appoint of the subcontractor if it believes this would violate the law or collective agreements or would “otherwise contravene generally accepted practices within the parties’ area of agreement”. However, Sweden’s public procurement legislation indicates that this right of veto relates to specific circumstances, such as where the sub-contractor is bankrupt or has not paid taxes. If the union exercises its veto incorrectly, the employer can claim against it for damages.
The union’s power to delay is set out in Sections 33 and 34 of the MBL, which state that in two specific circumstances, where there is a dispute between the union and the employer, the union’s interpretation should prevail until the issue has been decided, either through central negotiations or in the Labour Court. The two circumstances are the interpretation of collective agreements on co-determination, signed under Section 32 of the MBL, and, more importantly, a union member’s duty to perform work. This allows the union to say that a union member is not contractually obliged to carry out certain work, and its interpretation stands until either central negotiations or the Labour Court have overturned it. However, there are certain circumstances, such as safety work, where the employer can nevertheless insist that work be carried out, and if the union is found to be wrong in its interpretation of the employee’s contractual obligations it may be liable to pay damages to the employer.
The rights set out above refer to the situation when an employer is covered by a collective agreement with the union concerned. If the union does not have a collective agreement with the employer, its rights are more limited. In these circumstances the employer is obliged to negotiate with the union when the issue “specifically relates to the working or employment conditions of an employee who is a member” of the union concerned (Section 13 MBL) but is under no obligation to negotiate on changes in activities, as it is with a union with a collective agreement. Where the employer’s plans relate to redundances or business transfers, and the employer is not covered by any collective agreement, the employer is obliged to negotiated with all unions whose members might be affected.
Employers are also obliged to provide unions which whom they do not have a collective agreement, but who have members among their employees with information on how “operations are developing as regards production and financially and similarly on the guidelines for personnel policy” (Section 19a MBL). Employees may be appointed by the union to receive the information, and reasonable leave to receive the information should not be refused (Section 19b MBL). The rights under these sections were added to take account of the 2002 EU information and consultation directive (2002/14/EC) and they are less detailed than the comparable information rights of unions with a collective agreement with the employer (Section 19 MBL).
Unions without a collective agreement with the employer also do not have the right to negotiate an agreement on co-determination, the limited veto rights on sub-contracting or the right for their interpretation of the obligation to carry out work to have priority. These are all rights only enjoyed by unions with a collective agreement (see above).
Election and term of office
Workplace representation is provided through the trade unions, operating under their own rules, and there are no statutory regulations which lay down how trade union representatives should be chosen; it is for the unions to decide.
The FML, the 1974 legislation on trade union representatives at the workplace, states simply that the law “applies to a person who has been appointed by an employee organisation to represent the employees at a certain workplace as a trade union representative” (Section 1). The only requirement is that the employer should be informed by the union as to who has been chosen, and that the employee organisation is a union to which the employer is bound by a collective agreement.
There are important differences in how unions choose union representatives and their precise role, as these examples illustrate.
In Unionen, the largest union, the club board (klubbstyrelsen) is responsible for negotiations with the employer, and workplace representatives (arbetsplatsombud) are only appointed if there is no club. The club board is elected annually at a members’ meeting, while employee representatives are elected at a members’ meeting for a maximum of two years. In Kommunal the workplace representatives are elected by the section board, the employer-level lay structure in the union, based on proposals from members in the workplace, although they can also be elected by the club board (a lower-level lay structure), if the section board chooses this approach. Their term of office is three years. In IF Metall, the largest private sector manual union, the club is responsible for dealing with the employer, and its board is elected at the annual meeting for a period of two years, with half resigning every year. The club board also appoints workplace contact representatives (kontaktombud) after consultation with the membership concerned. Their term of office is a maximum of two years.
Protection against dismissal
Union representatives, like union members, are protected by the provisions on the right of association under the general legislation on co-determination, the MBL (Sections 7 to 9). These protect them against dismissal or other disciplinary measures relating to their union activities.
In addition, Section 4A of the FML, the specific legislation on union representatives, states that union representatives may not be given “worsened working conditions or terms of employment” because of their union position union, and that, when they relinquish their union position, they must be assured of the same, or equivalent terms, as if they had not held it. If the working conditions or the terms of employment of the union representative are to be changed, the union must be informed in advance and must have the opportunity to consult with the employer. The proposed change cannot be made unless this consultation has taken place (Section 5 FML).
In addition, representative must be given priority in redundancy selection if the union considers it is “of special importance for the union’s activities in the workplace” for them to remain employed(Section 8 FML). Employers who fail to observe union requests in this area may find that their dismissals are invalid.
In general, where there are disputes as to whether the law on protection of union representatives is being applied correctly, the union’s interpretation of the provisions continues to apply until the issue has been resolved, either through central negotiations or in the Labour Court (Section 9A FML).
Time off and other resources
The legislation on trade union representatives, the FML, does not set down a fixed period of time off for trade union duties at work. It simply states that “leave” (time off) “required for trade union duties” (literally the “trade union mission”) should be provided but it may not be “greater than is reasonable with regard to the conditions at the workplace” (Section 6A FML), and that for leave relating to trade union activities at the representative’s own workplace” representatives should be paid (Section 7).
It is left to consultation between the employer and the local union organisation to determine “the scope and location of the leave”. But industry level agreements sometimes indicate what is regarded as “reasonable”. In the central government sector, for example, the national agreement provides for one union representative on full-time union duties for every 500 members in the local union. However, none of the agreements signed by IF Metall, the largest private sector manual union, include maximum or minimum figures for paid time for union activities. In its guidance booklet the union suggests that the following are some of the important factors in determining the amount of time to be provided for union duties: “the number of employees, the nature of the workplace, the composition of the workforce, staff turnover, employment conditions, working hours, types of wages, payment systems, special problems and the contractual situation”. Time off will normally include going to outside meetings and on courses (see below) provided these are linked with the workplace.
The union representative either as an individual or as part of the trade union committee is entitled by law to use of a room or other space for union duties carried out there (Section 3 FML). Local agreements may extend these rights to the use of various items of office equipment – telephone, fax, computer, photocopier etc – and in some cases provide for secretarial support. The question of exactly what facilities the union representatives should have is normally one of the first issues to be negotiated between the union and the employer.
The 1982 agreement on efficiency and participation also provided for the trade union representatives to make use of external consultants, paid for by the employer, where major changes are in prospect. Typically, the employer will pay for a consultant for a week.
The FML, the legislation on trade union representatives, does not contain specific provisions on training. However, the right to paid time off for union duties set out in Sections 6A and 7 of the FML has been accepted as covering a right to participate in trade union education, and unions provide both basic and follow-on courses for workplace representatives.
In addition, under separate legislation, the 1974 Student Leave Act (Studieledighetslagen) all employees have the right to (unpaid) study leave, to take part in an organised course if they have been employed by the same employer for at least six months or at least 12 months in the previous two years. If the leave is for study which “to a significant extent relates to trade union or union-related issues”, this qualification period does not apply (Section 3).
Representation at group level
The 1982 agreement on efficiency and participation stated that information on the whole group should be given to union representatives in the companies within it and where decisions are planned which have an impact on several group companies the unions "should appoint a group of representatives with power to discuss and negotiate with group management".
In practice, the fact that employee representation takes place entirely through the unions means that they can set up their own structures for groups of companies, with a union club at group level (koncernklubb). In the finance union, Finansförbundet, for example, the position of group club member is part of the union’s structure. Under Section 3 of the FML, union representatives must be given access to workplaces other than their own, if this is necessary for their union duties.
 See further e.g. Adlercreutz, A. & Nyström, B. Sweden, in International Encyclopaedia for Labour and Industrial Relations, 2010, Fahlbeck, R. & Mulder B. J., Labour and Employment Law in Sweden, 2009, and Eklund, R., Sigeman, T. & Carlson, L., Swedish Labour and Employment Law: Cases and Materials, 2007
 Den svenska modellen i en oviss tid: Fack, arbetsgivare och kollektivavtal på en föränderlig arbetsmarknad by Anders Kjellberg,Lund University, 2020 Charts 14 and 15 https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/en/publications/den-svenska-modellen-i-en-oviss-tid(11ad3d7f-b363-4e46-834f-cae7013939dc).html (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Eurofound (2015), Third European Company Survey – Overview report: Workplace practices – Patterns, performance and well-being, Figures for Table 44
 Unionen Stadgar 2019, Section 3.1, 3.2,3.3 and 3.6 https://www.unionen.se/sites/default/files/files/Stadgar_antagna_kongress_2019_201023.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Årsrapport Unionen: 2019 https://www.unionen.se/sites/default/files/files/Arsrapport2019_200515_low_0.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Kommunal Stadgar 2019, Section 9.9 and 9.10 https://www.kommunal.se/sites/default/files/attachment/stadgar_2019_svenska_kommunalarbetareforbundet_webb_.pdf and https://www.kommunal.se/arbetsplatsorganisation (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Kommunal: Verksamhetsberättelse, hållbarhetsrapport, årsredovisning & koncernredovisning 2019 https://www.kommunal.se/sites/default/files/attachment/verksamhetsberattelse_2019.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 IF Metall Stadgar 2017-20, Section 26.8 https://www.ifmetall.se/globalassets/avdelningar/forbundskontoret/resurser/dokument/stadgar/stadgar_2017.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 IF Metall Verksamhetsberättelse 2019 https://www.ifmetall.se/globalassets/avdelningar/forbundskontoret/resurser/dokument/verksamhetsberattelse/verksamhetsberattelse2019.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 See, for example, UNIONEN website https://www.unionen.se/rad-och-stod/om-forhandling and Förhandla lokalt, IF Metall, October 2019 https://www.ifmetall.se/globalassets/avdelningar/boras/resurser/dokument/fortroendevald/forhandla-lokalt_webb_20191009.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Unionen website https://www.unionen.se/rad-och-stod/medbestammandeforhandling-sa-har-gor-du (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Statutes of Unionen, 3.2, 3.5 and 3.6; Kommunal 5.1; and IF Metall 23.2, 23.5 and 23.6
 Facklig förtroendeman, Arbetsgivarverket https://www.arbetsgivarverket.se/ledare-i-staten/arbetsgivarguiden/fragor-och-svar/facklig-fortroendeman/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Förhandla lokalt, IF Metall, October 2019
 See Finansförbundet website https://www.finansforbundet.se/medlemskap/sa-har-kan-du-paverka/att-arbeta-fackligt/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
Employees are represented on the boards of companies with more than 25 employees. There are two or three employee members and they typically account for a quarter to a third of board members. They are chosen by the union and are generally important figures in a whole range of employer-union relations.
Employee representation at board level is extensive in Sweden, which has a single-tier board system.
Under the 1987 Act on Board Representation for Private Sector Employees (Lag om styrelserepresentation för de privatanställda), employees in almost all companies with more than 25 employees have the right to elect board members. The legislation applies to limited companies, banks, mortgage institutions, insurance companies, economic associations and some European cooperatives, and the calculation of employee numbers is based on the average number of employees in Sweden in the most recent financial year. Bodies outside the private sector, for example non-profit organisations, are not covered by this legislation, but in some cases these organisation's statutes, may provide for employee representation at board level.
However, the possibility of having employee representatives on the company boards is not used as widely as it could be. Figures from the PTK, the non-manual negotiating body which brings together private sector unions, indicate that in 2018 there were about 15,500 limited companies where employees had the right to appoint board-level representatives. However, only about 1,800 companies had registered employee members with the Swedish Companies Registration Office.
In private sector companies with at least 25 employees the Act provides that there are two employee representatives on the board of directors plus the same number of substitutes. In companies which operate across different industries and have at least 1,000 employees there are three employee representatives on the board, again with three substitutes. The employee representatives, however, can never be in the majority. For parent companies, the employment threshold figures relate to the whole group (Section 4).
The 2020 edition of the annual survey of non-employee board members carried out by the consultancy pwc found that, on average, the number of board members chosen by the shareholders ranged from 5.4 in smaller stock exchange companies to 7.8 in larger ones. With either two or three board members chosen by the unions this suggests that employee representatives make up between a quarter and a third of board members, at least in companies quoted on the Swedish stock exchange.
The decision to appoint employee representatives to the board is made by the local union, with which the employer has a collective agreement. If there is no union with a collective agreement with the company or the union does not choose to appoint representatives, there is no board-level employee representation (Section 6).
Once a decision has been made to appoint employee representatives to the board, they are chosen by the local unions (Section 7). They normally agree on how this should be done, with one employee representative and deputy coming from the manual confederation LO and the other coming from one of the two non-manual confederations, TCO and Saco, which, in the private sector work together in the PTK bargaining grouping. The PKT advises that where there are several non-manual unions in the company, they should cooperate to try to find a joint candidate, with mediation available, if they cannot agree.
If an agreement cannot be reached between LO and the PTK, the law provides that if one union has 80% of the employees in the company, then it is entitled to both the employee seats on the board, otherwise each of the two unions with the largest membership in the company has a seat. (The substitutes are divided in the same way.) If the employees are entitled to three members the larger union appoints two (and two substitutes), while the smaller union appoints one (and one substitute) (Section 8).
Substitute members are important as they may attend and speak at meetings of the board even though full members are also present (Section 13).
The individual members, whether full members or substitutes, must be employees of the company, or of a company in the group in the case of a parent company (Section 9). They can be chosen in a number of ways including election at a union meeting in the company, appointment by the board of the local union group (the club) or a membership ballot. The PTK advises that its is an advantage if the person appointed is a member of the club board, but that they should not be the club president, the most senior figure or the person who negotiates with the company.
Once the employees' members have been appointed, the local unions must submit a report to the company. This must contain the names of all members and substitutes, and the minutes of the meeting when they were appointed. The company then registers the new members with the Swedish Companies Registration Office.
Their term of office is fixed by the union making the appointment, but may not exceed four years (Section 10).
In general, board members representing employees have the same rights as those representing the shareholders of the company (Section 11). These are set out in Chapter 8 of the Swedish Companies Act (Aktiebolagslag 2005). However, board members representing employees cannot be involved in dealing with issues linked to collective bargaining or industrial action, or other issues where there is a clear conflict of interest between the company and the union (Section 14).
Overall, employee representatives have no power of veto and so cannot stop majority decisions taken against their wishes.
There is also a difference in approach between the legislation on board representatives and involvement according to the MBL Co-determination Act (see section on workplace representation). Employee members on the board, like other board members, are required to act in the best interests of the company, while the negotiating rights provided through the MBL legislation are based on the differences between the parties’ interests. In addition, information rights under the Co-determination Act cannot be replaced by information an employee representative receives as a member of the board.
Board-level employee representatives and substitutes are covered by the 1974 Act on Trade Union Representatives, the FML. As such, they receive their normal pay for the work as a board member, and additional remuneration is exceptional. However, this also means that means that time for board work (preparation time, travel time, meeting time, induction and any training required) must be within paid working time (Sections 6A and 7 FML).
They also benefit from the protections against dismissal and detriment because of their duties as employee representatives (Sections 4A FML), the requirement for the union to be consulted before any changes in their working conditions (Section 5) and preferential treatment in relation to redundancies, if the union considers that their continued employment is of particular importance (Section 8). As with other union representatives, where there are disputes as to whether the law on union representatives is being applied correctly, the union’s interpretation of the provisions continues to apply until the issue is resolved, either at a higher level between the unions and employers or in the Labour Court.
 PTK website https://www.ptk.se/sakfragor/bolagsstyrelser/representation-i-bolagsstyrelser/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 Svenska styrelsers ersättningar och arbetssätt, Juni 2020 pwc https://www.pwc.se/sv/pdf-reports/skatt/svenska-styrelsers-ersattningar-och-arbetssatt-2020-ny.pdf (Accessed 17.12.2020)
 PTK website https://www.ptk.se/sakfragor/bolagsstyrelser/hur-utses-representanten/ (Accessed 17.12.2020)
Swedish members of bodies linked to European Works Councils and the European Company are – in line with Swedish practice elsewhere – appointed by the local unions the company negotiates with.
European Works Councils
Swedish members of the special negotiating body (SNB) for an EWC are appointed by the local union bodies with whom the company has collective agreements. If the unions cannot agree who should be appointed, then the union with the largest number of members makes the appointment. If there are several Swedish members, the procedure followed is similar to that for board level representation. This states that if one union has 80% of the employees in the company, then it is entitled to appoint all the members, otherwise each of the two unions with the largest membership in the company share the membership. If the company is not covered by a collective agreement, the union with the largest number of members in the company appoints the Swedish members. The legislation does not specify whether or not the individual should be an employee of the company.
The procedure is the same for Swedish members of an EWC set up under the fallback procedure in the annex to the directive, except that the legislation states specifically that the individual or individuals appointed from Sweden must be employed by the company.
Swedish members of the special negotiating body (SNB) for a European Company are appointed by the local union bodies with which the company has collective agreements. If the unions cannot agree who should be appointed, then the union with the largest number of members makes the appointment. If there are several Swedish members, the procedure followed is similar to that for board level representation. This states that if one union has 80% of the employees in the company, then it is entitled to appoint all the members, otherwise each of the two unions with the largest membership in the company share the membership. If the company is not covered by a collective agreement, the union with the largest number of members in the company appoints the Swedish members. The legislation does not specify whether or not the individual should be an employee of the company.
The procedure is the same for Swedish members of the SE Representative body (known in the Swedish legislation as an employees’ council) set up under the fallback procedure in the annex to the directive, except that the legislation states specifically that the individual or individuals appointed from Sweden must be employed by the company.
The same arrangements as for the employees’ council also apply to Swedish employee representatives at board level, where they are appointed under the fallback procedure in the annex to the directive. The one difference is that the unions may, if they wish transfer the choice of the board level representatives to the employees’ council (see above).
Swedish legislation makes it clear that in Swedish European Companies set up under the fallback procedure, employee representatives should not participate in discussions relating to collective agreements or industrial action.
Safety representatives, who are normally appointed by the union, should be present in all workplaces with at least five employees in Sweden. They have the power to halt work if there is an immediate and serious threat to health. A joint safety committee should be set up in larger workplaces and the Swedish system also provides a network of regional safety representatives, usually union officials, who can intervene where there is no safety committee.
Basic approach at workplace level
Cooperation between employers and employees is seen as essential in creating a safe workplace, and the legislation states that the employer and the employee should cooperate to establish a good working environment.
Employee health and safety bodies
Health and safety representation in Sweden is provided through safety representatives (working environment representatives) (skyddsombud (arbetsmiljöombud)), and in larger companies (50 or more employees) or where the employees request this, there is also a safety committee (skyddskommitté). Unions can also appoint a regional safety representative (regionalt skyddsombud) to cover smaller workplaces without a safety committee, where they have members.
Numbers and structure
All workplaces with five or more employees should appoint at least one safety representative, with the union normally making the appointment (see below). Safety representatives can also be appointed at smaller workplaces if working conditions make this appropriate. Each safety representative should also have a deputy.
There are no set rules about how many safety representatives should be appointed. However, the Work Environment Ordinance indicates that the size of the workplace, the nature of the work and the working conditions should be taken into account. In addition, if work is split over several departments or done in shifts, each department and or shift should have a safety representative. Where there are doubts about the appropriate number, the issue should be discussed with the employer and if necessary the health and safety authorities. It is also possible to have safety representatives from several unions, if several have agreements covering the workplace.
Where, for whatever reason, there are several safety representatives, one of them should be chosen as the senior safety representative to coordinate the work of the others.
A safety committee should be set up in all workplaces with at least 50 employees and in smaller workplaces if the employees request this. Its size depends on the size of the workplace and the type of work undertaken. The employee members of the committee are appointed in the same way as safety representatives (see below) and they must include at least one safety representative. The safety committee should, if possible, also include at least one person in a management role and a member of the local executive committee of the union. The chair and secretary are normally appointed by management.
Regional safety representatives cover smaller workplaces without a safety committee and their area of responsibility is decided by the union body that appoints them, although they can only cover workplaces that have at least one of their members as employees. They exist alongside workplace-based safety representatives, and a small workplace might well have a safety representative who is an employee as well as being covered by a regional safety representative.
Research by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in 2014 found that 78% of workplaces in Sweden had health and safety representatives and 31% had a health and safety committee. These are both well above the EU-28 averages, which are 58% for health and safety representatives and 21% for health and safety committees. (The figures are for workplaces with five or more employees.)
Despite these positive figures a 2017 EU-OSHA survey looking at the reality of worker participation in the management of health and safety found that “although SRs [safety representatives] are still many, active and influential in Swedish workplaces, there is an increasingly split labour market, … in which unions are weaker, and where there are fewer and less active SRs, with less cooperation with their managers”. Based on the number of safety representatives reported by the unions, the same study found that in reality at most around 15% of Sweden's workplaces with at least five employees had safety representatives. However, some two-thirds to three-quarters of the others were covered by regional safety representatives.
Tasks and rights
The role of the safety representative is to represent employees on health and safety issues and to work for a satisfactory working environment. In the area he or she covers, the safety representative should monitor the safeguards against ill-health and accidents, as well as the employer’s compliance with legislative requirements relating to:
- managing activity so as to meet the requirements of a good working environment;
- investigating injuries at work;
- continuously assessing risks and taking the appropriate measures to deal with them;
- documenting the health and safety position and improvement measures, including drawing up actions; and
- ensuring that the workplace provides a scheme of job adaptation and rehabilitation.
The safety representative should also participate in the planning of new premises, equipment, work processes, working methods and work organisation or alterations to existing ones, and in planning the use of substances liable to cause ill-health or accidents. He or she should also be involved in the preparation of improvement action plans (see above).
The employer should inform the safety representative of any changes having a significant effect on working conditions. The safety representative is also entitled to inspect all documents and to obtain any other information necessary for his or her activities. This includes information on buildings, hazardous substances and communications from the safety authorities to the employer.
If the safety representative believes that specific measures need to be taken produce a safe working environment, he or she can ask the employer to carry out these measures or to undertake a particular investigation. If the employer fails to respond or does not do so with a reasonable time, the health and safety authority can examine the situation to see whether it should issue and instruction. Where there is a safety committee, the request may be made to it rather than the employer.
If a particular job involves immediate and serious danger to the life or health of an employee and the employer does not take any action to remedy the situation, the safety representative may order the suspension of work pending a decision by the health and safety authority. This suspension remains in force until the authority has reached a decision. This right to suspend work applies to each safety representative, so it is possible for a regional safety representative to order a suspension of work, even if the local safety representative disagrees. In practice, where there are local safety representatives in small workplaces, they often try to avoid the conflict with management and call the regional safety representatives to come and stop the work. This would not be possible in larger workplaces as the regional safety representative only has a role if there is no safety committee.
The role of the safety committee is to participate in the planning of health and safety measures at the worksite and monitor their implementation. It should closely monitor developments relating to protection against ill-health and accidents and should promote satisfactory health and safety conditions.
In particular the safety committee should consider issues relating to:
- occupational health services;
- action plans relating to measure to improve health and safety (see above);
- the planning of new or changed facilities, equipment, work processes and working methods and of work organisation;
- planning of the use of substances liable to cause ill-health or accident;
- information and education concerning the working environment; and
- job adaptation and rehabilitation activities at the workplace.
Where employees and the employer on the safety committee cannot agree, the issue can be referred to the health and safety authority, to see whether this is an issue on which the authority can make a decision.
Frequency of meetings
The safety committee should meet at least once every three months.
Election and term of office
Safety representatives are appointed in the first instance by the local trade union organisation which has a collective agreement with the employer. The individual appointed must be an employee at the workplace, but does not have to be a member of the union, although he or she generally is a union member. If there are several unions with collective agreements covering the workplace, they decide whether to have a common representative or whether to have one – or more than one – each.
Where there is no union with a collective agreement, the employees elect their own safety representative, normally at a meeting but sometimes in other ways. The election must be conducted by the employees themselves.
Safety representatives are appointed for a period of three years unless exceptional circumstances make a different period appropriate.
The employee members of the safety committee are also appointed by the unions with collective agreements covering the workplace in the first instance. Only if there are no unions with collective agreements covering the workplace are they directly chosen by the employees.
Regional safety representatives are chosen by the local organisation of the union and they do not have to be employees at the workplace – in fact they are generally full-time union officials. They can only be appointed in respect of workplaces where the union concerned has members.
Resources, time off and training
Safety representatives are entitled to the time off with pay necessary to perform their duties. However, the legislation does not specify how long this should be and the issue will normally be decided in an agreement between the union and the employer. Safety representatives should also be given training.
Protection against dismissal
Safety representatives must not be given inferior conditions or pay because of their appointment and, like trade union representatives, benefit from some priority of treatment when redundancies are being made.
Other elements of workplace health and safety
Health and safety legislation emphasises the employer’s duty to provide a safe and healthy working environment, stating in the Work Environment Act that, “the employer must take all necessary measures to prevent the employee from being exposed to illness or accidents”. However, in general there are no specific employment or other thresholds determining the how health and safety tasks should be performed, although there are more specific requirements relating to construction and civil engineering.
The Act and the specifying regulations issued by the Work Environment Authority also emphasise that the employer should comply with their general preventive duties by organising adequate “Systematic Work Environment Management” – this is the Swedish implementation of EU's Framework Directive 89/391/EEC. These internal control provisions (originally from 1993, but updated and renamed in 2001) are by far the most used and cited of all regulations, and safety representatives have a right and duty to monitor and participate in all aspects of the employer's Systematic Work Environment Management (SWEM).
The legislation also states that the employer must ensure the availability of “occupational health services required by the working conditions”, and defines occupational health services as being “an independent expert resource in the work environment and rehabilitation fields”.
The ministry responsible for health and safety at work is the Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet). The body primarily responsible health and safety is the Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket), which also monitors compliance with health and safety laws and regulations.
There is no statutory structure giving trade unions and employers a direct role in policy-making on health and safety. However, they are consulted by the Work Environment Authority, and the regulations governing the operations of the Authority state specifically that it “shall consult representative employers’ and workers' organisations” before deciding on new regulations or taking important administrative decisions.
The main Swedish health and safety legislation, the Work Environment Act 1977, as amended, does not use the term psychosocial risks. However, it does refer to mental stress, stating: “Technologies, the organisation of work and the content of work must be designed in such a way that the employee is not subjected to physical strain or mental stress that may lead to illness or accidents” (Chapter 2, Section 1).In addition, new legislation, Organisational and social work environment provisions (AFS 2015:4), came into force on 31 March 2016. They aim to protect employees against psychosocial risks, dealing specifically with workload, working hours and victimisation.
Work Environment Act 1977, as amended
The Work Environment Ordinance
Systematic Work Environment Management Provisions 2001
Arbetsmiljöverkets föreskrifter om systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete AFS 2001: 1
 Second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2016
 Worker participation in the management of occupational safety and health — qualitative evidence from ESENER-2 Country report – Sweden, European Risk Observatory, by John Sjöström and Kaj Frick, EU-OSHA 2017
Förordning (2007:913) med instruktion för Arbetsmiljöverket
For more information on the national context see OSH system at national level – Sweden by Riitta Sauni, Kirsi Koskela and Peter Westerholm,, OSH Wiki https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/OSH_system_at_national_level_-_Sweden
There has been a debate about workers’ financial participation in Sweden since the 1960s. The incidence of participation schemes is above average by European comparison.
Workers’ financial participation schemes are used in companies as a way of retaining employees, and especially specialists, or promoting the recruitment of new employees.1 var obj = document.getElementById('note_hidden'); obj.value = obj.value + '1
1. Würz, S. (2003): European Stock-Taking on Models of Employee Financial Participation“, pp. 76–84 (data Dr. Dr. Heissmann GmbH).
There is no legislation in Sweden governing direct employee participation in a company’s profits.1 var obj = document.getElementById('note_hidden'); obj.value = obj.value + '1
1. Lowitzsch, J., Hashi, I. and Woodward, R. (2009): The PEPPER IV Report: Benchmarking of Employee Participation in Profits and Enterprise Results in the Member and Candidate Countries of the European Union. Country Profile “Sweden”.
Profit-sharing in the form of profit-sharing trusts
Profit-sharing plays a relatively big role in Swedish companies, compared with the rest of Europe. About one fifth of all companies offer schemes, mainly in the form of “profit-sharing trusts”.3 var obj = document.getElementById('note_hidden'); obj.value = obj.value + '3
3. Kluge, N. and Wilke, P. (2007): Board-level participation and workers’ financial participation in Europe. State of the art and development trends, Report 102, European Trade Union Institute for Research, Education and Health and Safety (ETUI-REHS), Brussels; see also European Economic and Social Committee (2010): Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on Employee financial participation in Europe (Own-initiative opinion), SOC/371, Employee financial participation in Europe, 21 October 2010. Brussels.
With the exception of the regulations governing profit-sharing trust funds, there is no specific legislation in Sweden on any form of employee financial participation.
The 1981 Law on Social Security Contributions provides for the transfer of company profits into statutory funds. From 1992 to 1997 employers’ contributions to profit-sharing funds were not subject to social contributions or tax. Employers are now subject to a tax of 24.26% on contributions. Employees do not enjoy any particular tax concessions and income tax has to be paid when they receive their money.1 var obj = document.getElementById('note_hidden'); obj.value = obj.value + '1
1. Lowitzsch, J., Hashi, I. and Woodward, R. (2009): The PEPPER IV Report: Benchmarking of Employee Participation in Profits and Enterprise Results in the Member and Candidate Countries of the European Union. Country Profile “Sweden”.
Employee share ownership in the form of employee funds have been the subject of controversial debate since the 1970s. It all started with the trade unions’ solidarity wage policy. Other European countries adopted the ideas behind the Swedish fund schemes for similar proposals.
Employee share ownership has been debated since the 1970’s. It all started with the Swedish trade unions’ solidarity wage policy, whereby wages were linked to average productivity rises on a macroeconomic level. This however created the effect of high-profit companies paying only relatively low wages, and trade unions came under legitimation pressure from employees in such companies. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) set up a working group that came up with the proposal for “collective share ownership for employees” as a solution to this problem in 1975. It was proposed that every Swedish joint-stock company should transfer 20% of its profit as share issues into employee funds. The intention was that the funds’ proceeds should be made available for local trade union activities and for training, research and counselling purposes. Over and above its function as an extension of the joint wages policy, this form of employee share ownership was intended to have a balancing effect on wealth distribution and promote industrial democracy.
Employee funds were finally implemented in 1984. However they had acquired the totally different objective of strengthening the pension system. Companies were not required to contribute profits in the form of shares as foreseen but as cash. Employees were also required to contribute to approx. one-third of financing through an increase in their pension contributions. In addition a 7-year retention period was set.1 var obj = document.getElementById('note_hidden'); obj.value = obj.value + '1
1. Würz, S. (2003): „European Stock-Taking on Models Of Employee Financial Participation“, S.76-84. (data Dr. Dr. Heissmann GmbH; Priewe, J. and Havighorst, F. (2001): Auf dem Weg zur Teilhabergesellschaft? Investivlöhne, Gewinn- und Kapitalbeteiligungen der Arbeitnehmer in Westeuropa und den USA. Eine vergleichende Bestandsaufnahme. WISO Diskurs. Bonn: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
- Annika Berg / European industrial relations observatory online (2000): Employee share option programmes are increasingly popular. Background paper.
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2007): Financial participation of employees in the European Union: Much ado about nothing? Background paper, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2012): Fifth European Working Conditions Survey, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2010): European Company Survey 2009. Overview. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
- Lowitzsch, J., Hashi, I. & Woodward, R. (2009): The PEPPER IV Report: Benchmarking of Employee Participation in Profits and Enterprise Results in the Member and Candidate Countries of the European Union. Country Profile “Sweden”.
- Mathieu, M. (2012): Annual Economic Survey of Employee Ownership in European Countries 2012. European Federation of Employee Share Ownership.
- European Economic and Social Committee (2010): Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on Employee financial participation in Europe (Own-initiative opinion), SOC/371, Employee financial participation in Europe, 21 October 2010. Brussels.
- Poutsma, E., Lighard, P. (2011): Compensation and Benefits, in: Cranet Survey on Comparative Human Resource Management – International Executive Report.
Landsorganisationen i Sverige, LO (The Swedish Trade Union Confederation)
Affiliates to LO :
- Byggnadsarbetareförbundet (The Swedish Building Workers Union)
- Svenska Elektrikerförbundet – electricians’ union
- Fastighets (The Swedish Building Maintainance Workers’ Union)
- GS, Facket för Skogs-, trä- och grafisk bransch (The Swedish union for forestry, wood and graphical workers)
- Handelsanställdas förbund (the union of comercial employees)
- Hotel och Restaurang Facket (the hotel and restaurant workers union)
- Industrifacket Metall (the Swedish engineering workers union)
- Kommunal (The Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union)
- Livsmedelsarbetareförbundet (food workers’ union)
- Musikerförbundet (musicians’ union)
- Svenska Målareförbundet (The Swedish Painters’ Union)
- Pappersindustriarbetareförbundet (Swedish Paper Workers Union)
- Seko, Facket för service och kommunikation (union of service and communication employees)
- Transportarbetareförbundet (The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union)
TCO (The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees)
Affiliates to TCO
- Fackförbundet ST - The Union of Civil Servants
- Farmaciförbundet - The Union of Chemist’s Employees
- Finansförbundet - The Union of Financial Sector Employees
- FTF - The Union of Insurance Employees
- Försvarsförbundet - The Union of Civilian Employees in the Defence Forces
- Journalistförbundet - The Swedish Union of Journalists
- Lärarförbundet - The Swedish Teachers’ Union
- Polisförbundet - The Union of Swedish Policemen
- SLF - The Association of Forestal and Agricultural Employees
- Symf - The Swedish Federation of Professional Musicians
- Teaterförbundet - The Swedish Union of Theatrical Employees
- TULL-KUST - The Swedish Union of Customs’ and Coastguards Officers
- Unionen, union for white-collar workers
- Vision, union for white-collar workers employed by the municipalities and county councils (or companies owned by them) or the church
- Vårdförbundet - The Swedish Association of Health Professionals
Saco, Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganisation – The Swedish Confederation of Professional Association
- Akademikerförbundet SSR – a union of university graduates whose members have a degree in economics, social science, social work or personnel management
- Civilekonomerna – The Swedish Association of Graduates in Business Administration and Economics
- DIK – a professional association and a trade union for university graduates in the fields of documentation, information and culture
- Förbundet Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter, FSA – Association of Occupational Therapists
- Jusek – a Swedish Union of University Graduates of Law, Business Administration and Economics, Computer and Systems Science, Personnel Management and Social Science
- Kyrkans Akademikerförbund – the church’s academics’ union
- Legitimerade Sjukgymnasters Riksförbund – The Swedish Association of Registered Physiotherapists,
- Lärarnas Riksförbund – National Union of Teachers
- Naturvetarna – Swedish Association of Scientists
- Officersförbundet – military officers’ union
- Reservofficerarna – officers’ of the reserve union
- Saco-förbundet Trafik & Järnväg – transport professionals’ union
- SRAT – the union for specialists, professionals and leaders in health, communication and administration
- Sveriges Arkitekter – Swedish Association of Architects
- Sveriges Farmaceuter – The Swedish Pharmaceutical Associations
- Sveriges Ingenjörer – The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers
- Sveriges Läkarförbund – The Swedish Medical Association
- Sveriges Psykologförbund – The Swedish Psychologists’ Association
- Sveriges Skolledarförbund – The Swedish Association of School Principals and Directors of Education
- Sveriges Tandläkarförbund – The Swedish Dental Association (SDA)
- Sveriges universitetslärarförbund, Sulf – Swedish Association of University Teachers
- Sveriges Veterinärförbund – The Swedish Veterinary Association
Non affiliated unions
- Ledarna – The Swedish Organization for Managers
- SAC Syndikalisterna – Swedish Syndicalist Central Organization
- Pilotförbundet – union for pilots at SAS, Scandinavian Airlines
- Svensk Pilotförening –Swedish Airlines Pilots’ Association
- Svensk Lokförarförening – association for engine-drivers
- Svenska Hamnarbetarförbundet (union for docker workers)
Trade Union Cooperation Councils
- PTK – The Council for Negotiation and Co-operation (PTK)
- OFR, Offentliganställdas Förhandlingsråd – Public Employees’ Negotiation Council
- Saco-S (a negotiation cooperation organisation for 22 Saco unions)
- Akademikeraliansen (negotiation cooperation organisation in local authority sector),
- Facken inom industrin (cooperation between the unions within The Cooperation and Negotiation Agreement),
- 6F Fackförbund I samverkan (cooperation between six unions)
- Lärarnas samverkansråd (teachers cooperation council)
Svenskt Näringsliv – Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
- Almega (formed by seven employer and sector associations):
Bemanningsföretagen (Swedish Staffing Agency)
- Medieföretagen (Media Industries Employers Association)
- Almega Tjänsteförbunden (Almega Service Association)
- Vårdföretagarna (The Association of Private Care Providers)
- IT & Telekomföretagen (Swedish IT & Telecom Industries)
- Almega Samhallförbundet (Almega Samhall Employers Association)
- Almega Tjänsteföretagen (Almega Service Employers Association)
- Bil Sweden (manufacturers and importers of cars, trucks and busses)
- Byggnadsämnesförbundet (BÄF) – building materials employers
- Transportgruppen (The Transport Group) (formed by eight employer and sector associations)
- Jernkontoret (The Swedish Steel Producers Association)
- Byggmaterialindustrierna (building materials employers)
- Byggnadsämnesförbundet (BÄF) – building materials employers
- Elektriska Installatörsorganisationen EIO – Swedish Electrical Contractos Association
- Energiföretagens Arbetsgivarförening EFA AB – Energy Employers
- Entreprenörsföretagen (contractors’ association)
- Försäkringsbranschens arbetsgivarorganisation FAO – insurance employers
- Grafiska företagens förbund (The Swedish Graphic Companies’ Federation),
- Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden (IKEM)
- Industri- och KemiGruppen (The Swedish Industrial and Chemical Employers Associaton),
- Industriarbetsgivarna (company for the Steel and Metal Employers Association),
- Kemisk-tekniska leverantörsförbundet (KTF) – The Swedish Cosmetic, Toiletry & Detergent Association
- Livsmedelsföretagen (federation of food producers)
- Läkemedelsindustriföreningen (LIF) (research-based pharmaceutical industry)
- Maskinentreprenörerna (association of Swedish earth moving contractors)
- Skogs- och lantarbetsgivareförbundet SLA – forestry and agriculture employers
- Skogsindustrierna (forestry employers)
- Svensk Betong – concrete employers
- Svensk Handel (employers’ organisation serving the trade and commerce sector)
- Sveriges bagare & konditorer – Swedish Bakers & Pastry Chefs
- Sveriges bergmaterialindustri (Swedish Aggregates Producers Association),
- Sveriges Byggindustrier (The Swedish Construction Federation)
- Sveriges Managementkonsulter (Swedish Association of Management Consultants),
- Sveriges Redareförening (The Swedish Shipowners Association)
- Teknikföretagen – The Association of Swedish Engeneering Industries
- Teknikgrossisternas arbetsgivareförening
- Sveriges Textil- och Modeföretag – Textile and Clothing Industries’ Association
- Trä- och Möbelföretagen (Swedish Furniture Industry)
- Visita, Svensk besöksnäring (hotel and restaurant employers)
- VVS-företagen (The Swedish Association of Plumbing and HVAC Contractors)
- Återvinningsindustrierna – The Swedish Recycling Industries’ Association
Other, non-affiliated employers' associations
- Arbetsgivaraliansen (non-profit employers)
- Bankinstitutens Arbetsgivareorganisation, BAO (banking and financial employers)
- Fastigo – the employers’ association for the property sector in Sweden
- Glasbranschföreningen (glaziers’ employers)
- Idea, Arbetsgivareförbundet för ideella organisationer (The Employers’ Association for Non-Profit Organisations),
- Arbetsgivarföreningen KFO – cooperative enterprises
- Ledarna (managers’ organisation)
- Målaremästarna – the trade and employers’ association for Swedish painters contractors
- Svensk Scenkonst (Swedish Performing Arts)
- Svenska kyrkans arbetsgivarorganisation (The Swedish church’s employers’ association)
- Tidningsutgivarna TU – Swedish Media Publishers’ Association
- Arbetsgivarverket (Swedish Agency for Government Employers)
- Sveriges kommuner och landsting – The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR)
- KFS, Kommunala Företagens Samorganisation (The Swedish Organisation for Local Enterprises)
- Pacta, Arbetsgivarförbundet för kommunalförbund och företag (employers organisation for local authorities’ association and companies)
- Arbetsförmedlingen (The Swedish Public Employment Service)
- AD Arbetsdomstolen – The Swedish Labour Court
- Arbetslöshetskassornas Samorganisation (SO) – The Swedish Federation of Unemployment Insurance Funds
- Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – Equality Ombudsman
- Prevent – work environment cooperation
- Arbetsmiljöverket – Swedish Work Environment Authority
- Statistiska Centralbyrån – Statistics Sweden
- Swedish Statutes in Translation
- Trygghetsfonden (TSL) (collective agreed insurance system)
- Trygghetsrådet (TRR) – outplacement according to the Agreement on Transition
- EU & Arbetsrätt – periodical on EU and Labour Law
- Forum för forskning om arbetsrätt – Forum for Labour Law Research
- IFAU, Institutet för arbetsmarknadspolitisk utvärdering – IFAU, The Institute For Labour Market Policy Evaluation
- Försäkringskassan – National Insurance Office
- Medlingsinstitutet (The Swedish National Mediation Office)
- Riksdagen (The Swedish Parliament)
- Regeringen (The Swedish Government)
- Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet (The Ministry of Employment)