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Employment (Co-Determination in the Workplace) Act

Employment (Co-Determination in the Workplace) Act, law (1976:580), about co-determination in the labour market, is a Swedish law which regulates the relationship between employer and employee.

The law primarily regulates the following:

  • Association right – The right to organisera sig for both employer and employee.
  • The right to negotiate – The right employee and employer to negotiate certain issues. For example, the employer is obliged to negotiate with the employee association about important changes or important changes in work and employment conditions affecting the business.
  • The right to be informed – Primarily the employers obligation to inform the employee association about the business.
  • Collective agreement – About reaching a collective agreement and its legal effect.
  • The right to co-determine through collective agreement – Co-determination for the employees in regards to employments, company management and the business at large.
  • Obligation to maintain industrial peace – Prohibits employer and employee who are bound by a collective agreement to take action against the counterparty.
  • Indemnity – About penalties for violating the law.

The right to information and negotiate in MBL does not give the trade unions veto, however, to some extent, the trade unions are given the opportunity to investigate, collect information and express their opinion before a decision is taken. This is usually interpreted as the trade unions right to access financial documentation which is the basis for decisions like re-organisations and closing down business. Violation of MBL can lead to litigation in the work court (AD). 

When is it time for MBL?

Important changes shall be negotiated via MBL, for example management appointments, re-organisation, moving an employee, starting large projects, reconstruction and facility questions, administrative routines, working hours. It’s most common for the employer to call for a MBL, the trade unions have the same opportunity if deemed necessary.

What happens if the parties don’t agree

Regardless if the parties agree or not, meeting minutes shall be written and signed by all parties. This will document that a negotiation has taken place. If there are minor disagreements the most common way of handling it is for the trade union representatives to add their standing points and then signs the meeting minutes and thereby accepts the company’s proposal. If there are more severe disagreements there is a possibility to end the negotiation  in disagreement, which is a very strong signal. When a negotiation is closed in disagreement there’s an opportunity to request a central negotiation. This action can be taken when there is a severe conflict at hand. Delegates Sveriges Ingenjörer are thereby called in to represent the employees.

This is how it works

The company sends a negotiation request to  Akademikerföreningen. AF participates in a MBL negotiation together with the company when our members are concerned, either collectively or individually. Trustees  from the unit in question are the ones who primarily attends the MBL negotiation.

The trustee who represents AF attends the meeting which initiates the negotiation and listens to the company’s proposal and raises additional questions when necessary. The company often presents the proposal to the affected employees directly after the meeting, although sometimes  it has already been discussed in the department in question.

The trustee is then given time, normally a week, to collect comments from concerned members. This normally takes place by e-mail, and only AF members from the department in question are consulted (that’s why it’s very important that you as a member inform us when you change groups). 

If disagreement exists this time period can be extended or adjourned while additional investigations and discussions take place. The trustee answers the company if the proposal is approved in its current form or not, and any comments are added to the meeting minutes. The negotiation is concluded by the company issuing meeting minutes which are signed by all parties.

The decision is not confirmed and cannot take effect until the negotiation is concluded.

Published: 2020-03-03

Updated: 2020-03-03

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