In the Swedish office of 1Office, we are getting more and more questions about trade unions and topics related to collective agreements. Naturally, we are always happy to answer your questions, but with the following blog post we will try to proactively answer some general questions. Firstly we will consider the questions related to membership in the Swedish Building Workers’ Union (Byggnads).
Employees working in the following occupations can join the Byggnads:
- General construction
- Technical installations (HVAC systems)
- Construction machinery operators
- Glass installation
Naturally, membership in the Byggnads is not compulsory, but it can be beneficial if you are operating in the construction field in Sweden. It can help in finding workers, concluding contracts with general contractors, as well as in relations with the agencies that construction companies must deal with.
The trade union establishes the wage rate to be paid to the workers. In return, the employers’ association establishes its recommended wage rate, which is lower than the trade union’s wage rate and justifies this amount, for instance, on the basis of the workers’ various levels of experience, etc. If the company only joins that trade union, it is obligated to pay the salaries established by the trade union. And therefore, it makes sense to always join the employers’ association, because in this case, it is possible to pay lower wage rates, if necessary.
In order to join the Byggnads, the company must:
- be registered the Swedish Tax Board (F-skattsedel)
- have a valid contract with the healthcare organization*
- have employment contracts with the workers
* Membership in a healthcare organization ensures that priority is given to the workers for medical consultations. Concluding the contract means that an annual fee must be paid. Contracts can only be concluded to start in January or June. If the need develops to join the healthcare organization at another time, the company must decide – whether to pay the annual fee retroactively and become a member immediately or wait for the next signup period.
When joining the Byggnads, the company automatically gets valid insurance. However, when belonging to the insurance company, the company accepts additional obligations, such as reporting on salaries, reporting to the trade union and, of course, the insurance fee.
Before joining a trade union, the trade union may wish to receive information about the company’s cooperation partners. However, the potential cooperation partners may not wish to conclude a contract before there is proof of membership in the trade union.
It is not possible to join the Byggnads immediately. For example, in the last quarter of 2016, there were so many applicants that the signing was conducted collectively every few weeks. At the membership meeting, information was distributed about the trade union conditions and the attendance of the company manager or an authorized person at the meeting was required.
The Swedish team of 1Office has a great deal of experience related to membership in trade unions, and we are happy to help with any of the following: joining Byggnads; concluding agreements with a healthcare organisation, registering with the tax authorities and fulfilling all the related obligations (Lösen and Fora reporting, accounting services, etc.). Based on an authorization document, we can also represent you at the Byggnads meeting.Ask for our help