On your side – whatever happens
Butchers and bakers. Snuff makers and freezer staff. Machine operators and coffee roasters. Brewers and cracker bakers. Chocolate workers and deli producers. Fish smokers and sauce cooks. We are 31.000 members who make sure that everyone in Sweden gets their daily food. And not only in Sweden. The Swedish food industry is the third most important export industry in the country. No matter what we do, we have one thing in common: We know that we all benefit from cooperating and fighting together – fighting for good wages, fair conditions and a safer work environment.
Everyone in the union, from the local branch and the national union leadership, are organized to fight low wages and unfair conditions. We are a union that is not afraid to stand up when people are treated badly. We are proud of that – and will continue to fight for fairness for all.
Diversity makes us strong
The labor market is not fair. If your sex, looks or religion causes you to get lower pay, worse working conditions, or to be harassed, the Food Workers’ Union will be there. On your side. We are experts in helping you, our member. We will back you up with experienced officers and if needed, lawyers specializing in labor law.
The Food Workers’ Union is one of the 14 member unions of LO, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation. The cooperation with other unions provides extra clout when we take on important tasks together. We believe that everybody, regardless of background, deserves the best collective agreement possible, providing the best possible wages, benefits, and working conditions. Equal value of all and equal rights for all are values that lay the foundation for our work.
No one must be afraid at work
There are many dangers in the food industry, and many food workers are injured at work. High tempo, hot ovens, and sharp knives are constant dangers to the employees. This is where the Food Workers’ Union steps in. We apply constant pressure on employers to improve working conditions for all employees. Safety in the workplace is an employer responsibility, but if the union is not there to push the safety issues, all too often nothing happens. That is why you elected union safety reps are the most important link between you and the union. One of the most important aspects of the union efforts is to make you feel safe on the job.
Collective agreements makes us all winners
Collectives agreements guarantee that you get the correct pay and reasonable work hours. But there is so much more:
- Vacation pay
- Overtime pay
- Odd-hours pay
- Insurance for work injuries, illness, unemployment, parental leave, death
The content of the collective agreement is decided in national negotiations between us in the Food Workers’ Union and the employer association for the industry. We have a collective agreement covering the whole food industry, with supplements for the different kinds of food businesses.
The collective agreement is an ingenious invention. It provides employees with safety and fair treatment, at the same time as it provides a competitive edge for the industry. This makes everybody a winner. The employees are guaranteed that wages will not be lowered or working conditions getting worse. In a labor market with fair wages and working conditions, the companies have to compete with better products and more modern processes. Just as it should be. To make sure that the collective agreements are followed is part of the daily work of the Food Workers’ Union officers. They also work diligently to make more employers sign the collective agreements.
Safety if you lose your job
The unemployment insurance (a-kassan) is an insurance you pay into when you are working, being able to withdraw money from it if you lose your job. This is solidarity in practice and a smart way of guaranteeing safety for everyone in the labor market. In a rapidly changing labor market everyone needs a good, modern unemployment insurance. This is not only about the individual worker being able to support himself and his family. If the unemployment pay is lowered, it creates a downward pressure on wages in the whole industry, creating a vicious spiral downwards. This is why the unemployment insurance of the Food Workers’ Union also is an important tool in ensuring fair wages for the whole industry. Members of the Food Workers’ Union are also covered by an income insurance.
Collective agreement insurance
Collective agreement insurances cover all employees in a workplace covered by a collective agreement. The employer pays the fees, which are deducted from the total sum of wages in the workplace.
The Food Workers’ Union has negotiated the following insurances to be part of the collective agreement:
- A pension that is additional to the public pension.
- Workman’s compensation for injuries at work.
- Extra pay at long term illness.
- Unemployment insurance.
- Life insurance.
By using the collective bargaining power of its 31.000 members, the Food Workers’ Union has been able to provide critical insurance coverage to all its members at very low cost. The payment for these insurances is part of the union dues.
- Home insurance.
- Accident insurance for time out of work
- Child life insurance
- Life insurance
- Income insurance to supplement the unemployment insurance.
On average, union members pay SEK 100 – 200 less per month for this insurance coverage than they would pay if the insurances were bought individually.
Our democratic organization
The Food Workers’ Union derives its strength from the individual member and the local workplace all the way up to the national leadership. The everyday experience and the desires of the members shape our activities and decisions.
The local branch
The local branch at your workplace club is your local union organization and the part of the Food Workers’ Union that is closest to you. The chairperson, the board, and other officials are elected directly by the members at club meetings. All local branches elect representatives to the Union congress, which is held every four years. Members on workplaces without local branches get support from the region and elect representatives to the congress in special order.
The Food Workers’ Union is organized into five activity regions, where each region has several offices and professional reps. The single most important task for the regional reps is to guarantee that there is a collective agreement in place at all workplaces in the region. The region also has a board that coordinates and run activities.
The national board and the headquarter
The national headquarters of the Food Workers’ Union is governed by the national board of the Union. The staff is tasked with realizing the decisions taken by the congresses. The national headquarters staff is also supporting local activities and are often called upon to help resolve local grievances or to interpret collective agreements and laws. The national board has eleven members, who are elected by the congress.
Become a member
Alone is not strong. Particularly not in the labor market. As a union member, you can contribute to the strength of labor by bringing your experience to the table, come with suggestions and participate in the union efforts
to improve wages and work conditions. You can also participate in union member education programs and other studies. The Food Workers’ Union stands by you and guarantees that you work under a strong collective agreement that protects your rights.
As a member you also get
- Advice and support in negotiations.
- Unemployment insurance.
- Legal help in conflicts.
- An insurance package, including home- and income insurance and more.
- The magazine Mål och Medel.
- A union membership card that provides lots of discounts and other offers.
Becoming a member is smart thing to do. It is good for you and it is a guarantee that workers in Sweden are paid fair wages and offered good working conditions. For us to take on the fight for bakers, sauce cooks, butchers, brewers, chocolate makers – and everybody else in the food industry – is that there are many of us joining in the fight against injustice. That is why it is important that we organize and put forward our demands together.
Livs – whatever happens.