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29 September 2016

Sweden: trade union cooperation between Unionen and the German trade union IG Metall

The Swedish trade union Unionen has signed an agreement with its German counterpart IG Metall to better monitor digital platform work

In June 2016 Unionen (a Swedish trade union for employees in the private sector) signed a ‘strategic’ cooperation agreement with its German counterpart, the metalworkers’ and electronics trade union IG Metall, in order to benefit from the latter’s experience with digital workers. The aim is to anticipate the changes that may be wrought by the new economy, in particular by developing a common communication tool designed to organise this workforce.

This sector is rapidly developing in Sweden: it is said to already employ 737 000 people, i.e. nearly 12 % of the working population, who depend on the ‘digital platform’ economy, with another 24 % wanting to work in this area. That is why Unionen wants to take account of the development in this population of workers and quickly position itself in this sector. It is a case of both trying to regulate as quickly as possible a sector that currently has no rulebook and also filling a trade union void.

Digital or ‘digital platform’ work covers a range of situations, such as short back office assignments, clickwork and services such as the Uber taxis. IG Metall’s experience is particularly interesting to the Swedish trade union, especially its creation for the sector’s workers of a specific website known as ‘FairCrowdWork Watch‘.

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