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Sweden: Industrial relations

Original and updating author: Laura Carlson


  • Freedom of association is guaranteed by the Swedish Constitution, and legislation provides that employees have a right of association. (See Trade unions and recognition)
  • Collective agreements play the key role in regulation of the employment relationship in Sweden. (See Collective bargaining)
  • Sweden does not have a statutory system of domestic works councils or other elected employee representatives, and workplace employee representation, information and consultation occurs solely through local trade union organisations. (See Informing and consulting employees - general)
  • There are various rules regarding employers' obligations to inform and consult prior to redundancies. (See Informing and consulting prior to redundancies)
  • There are various rules regarding employers' obligations to inform and consult prior to business transfers. (See Informing and consulting prior to transfers)
  • Where an employer is bound by a collective agreement, the trade union that signed the agreement concerned has a right of veto in relation to any decision by the employer to use individuals, other than its own employees, to perform work on its behalf or in its business. (See Trade union right of veto)
  • "Community-scale" undertakings must, in certain circumstances, establish a body to negotiate with management over the establishment of a European Works Council or an information and consultation procedure. (See European Works Councils)
  • The Constitution provides that a trade union, an employer or an employers' association is entitled to take industrial action unless otherwise provided by legislation or under an agreement. (See Industrial action)
  • In private-sector joint-stock companies (and certain other types of organisations) with 25 or more employees, the employees are entitled to have representatives on the board of directors. (See Board-level employee representation)