Ports of Sweden’s change to union policy affects Gothenburg RoRo

The Ports of Sweden have decided on a new union policy, which means that port worker unions without collective agreements will lose rights which are not demanded by Swedish law. This also affects Gothenburg RoRo. “It is a national decision, which we can’t change locally, but are obliged to follow,” says Björn Wånge, Managing Director, Gothenburg RoRo.


The national Swedish employers’ association Sveriges Hamnar (Ports of Sweden) has changed its policy on union agreements.

Ports of Sweden negotiates collective agreements with port worker unions. However, some unions do not have such a collective agreement and according to Ports of Sweden, this means that those unions have many of the rights negotiated with Ports of Sweden without having the same obligations, such as the obligation not to strike as long as the collective agreement is maintained.

Ports of Sweden has now decided on a new policy, which means that those unions that do not have collective agreements with Ports of Sweden will lose the rights that are not demanded by Swedish law. As all members of Swedish ports have been obligated by Ports of Sweden to enforce this before 31 March 2018, it will also include Gothenburg RoRo where about 250 colleagues are members of Hamnarbeterförbundet, which does not have a collective agreement.

“We can’t change this locally – this is a national decision which we have to abide by, and the consequence of not following it will be exclusion from the employers’ association,” says Björn Wånge, MD of Gothenburg RoRo.

There has been criticism that this will mean that some of the health and safety rights will disappear, but Gothenburg RoRo will look at how to mitigate the consequences so safety, health and security aren’t jeopardized. “It is a new situation for us and at the moment, we do not know whether this will lead to changes among unions and as regards agreements between unions and our employers’ association,” says Björn.

March 16, 2018