PMs fail to resolve labor dispute

  • 2004-12-15
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to look into legality of a Swedish trade union's blocking of a construction site in Sweden that was contracted to a Latvian company.

Kalvitis asked Barroso to determine whether Sweden is complying with all EU requirements in regards to the free movement of labor.

Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, after talks with Kalvitis in Brussles, said that the Swedish government would not interfere in the dispute between the Laval and Partners construction firm and the trade union, which wants Latvian workers to sign a collective bargain agreement.

Persson said that he believe the dispute is an economic one and not a conflict between governments.

Sweden was one of the only EU member countries that declined to restrict imported workers from the new member countries.

After winning the tender for the renovation of a school in Vaxholm, Laval and Partners invited several Latvian electricians to Sweden to work on site. But the local trade unions have demanded that they signed a collective agreement in Sweden, which would effectively pay the imported workers Swedish salaries and lead to a sharp increase in project costs.

Laval and Partners claimed that the Latvian electricians are not bound by Swedish labor law since they signed their countries with the firm in Latvia.

Laval un Partneri has filed a claim with the Swedish labor court demanding that the trade union lift the blockade on the construction site and stop the strike by Swedish electricians and land excavation workers.

The Swedish labor court is expected to announce an interim decision on Dec. 20 's 21.