Swedes break anti-union wall at Toys 'R' Us

Charlotte Kates ckates at mosquito.com
Thu May 9 19:26:33 MDT 1996

**Swedes break anti-union wall at Toys 'R' Us**

(Reprinted from the May 11, 1996 issue of the People's
Weekly World. May be reprinted or reposted with PWW credit.
For subscription information see below)

World Combined Sources

With more than a little help from friends, the unionized
workers at Toys "R" Us stores in three Swedish cities have
won what is believed to be the first union contract anywhere
with the aggressively anti-union, multi-national retail

It took a strike of nearly three months and solid support
>from other Swedish unionists, the general public, and unions
in Norway and Denmark, and from delegates to the World
Congress of the international secretariat of technical and
commercial workers unions.

Sweden's Handels union had signed up most of the workers at
the retailer's new stores in Goteborg, Malmo and Stockholm,
but was getting nowhere in its attempts to bargain a

Then it discovered the company was forcing workers to sign a
staff handbook containing many rules that violated Swedish
labor law. The union struck and called a boycott of the
stores. The stores' aisles were empty "despite efforts ...
to entice customers in with all sorts of special offers."

Other unions in Sweden, Norway and Denmark stopped
deliveries, blocked financial transactions, stopped the
stores from being cleaned. The company threatened to pull
out of Sweden. Politicians and the press attacked the union
for threatening jobs.

Last Aug. 2 "a deal was signed giving the union most of what
it wanted" and the strike was over. Two weeks later, the
heads of Toys "R" Us operations in Denmark signed a similar
contract "without any conflict."
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