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Swedish Industrial Unions Reject Wage Offer, Talks Continue

Swedish industrial unions rejected a wage offer by independent mediators before the end of the current agreement tomorrow, setting up another week of talks before strikes may become an option.

Five unions representing 500,000 industrial workers turned down a 2.6 percent wage increase over the next 13 months, the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, Unionen, IF Metall, GS and Livsmedelsarbetarefoerbundet said today in separate statements. The parties have until Dec. 7 to resolve their differences before strikes may become an option.

Unions and employers’ organizations representing almost 3 million, or about two-thirds, of Swedish workers are or will negotiate pay deals by the end of next year with most current agreements expiring in March and April. Deals agreed on by industrial workers traditionally guide those in other areas.

Swedish salaries will grow an average 3.3 percent a year between 2012 and 2014, the central bank predicted on Oct. 27 as it kept its benchmark lending rate at 2 percent and forecast inflation will average 1.9 percent next year.

New wage deals are expected to be “compatible” with the bank’s 2 percent inflation target, it said last month.

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