One of the most important tasks of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers is to lay the foundations for a good and safe professional life by negotiating collective agreements. These agreements address issues such as working conditions, parental leave and occupational pensions. Normally, there are separate agreements for manual and non-manual workers. It is important to determine which collective agreement applies to your position so that you can learn more about your working conditions. Other collective agreements contain rules on the relationship between the employer and individual workers. Such agreements can be concluded at the central level, by the parties described above and at the local level, between a specific employer and the local union represented in the company. It is customary for a central agreement on the conditions of employment of each worker to be supplemented by local agreements. This is the standard procedure among companies that are members of the Swedish Association of Industrial Employers. During this decade, most of the labour laws that now regulate the labour market were enacted, and this explosion of labour laws changed the tradition of dealing with these issues between the parties. However, since the collective agreement has traditionally had a greater impact than individual regulations, many of the issues that are governed by law in other countries are still governed by collective agreements in Sweden. For example, there are no minimum wage laws.
EU membership since 1995 is another important political change and influences Swedish labour law. With regard to wages, the most important level of bargaining is the sectoral level, although there is still some coordination at the national level and a great deal of room for changes in the company and organisation. About 60 trade unions and 50 employers` organisations are involved in negotiations at this level. In addition to pay and working time, most elements of life in the workplace can be covered by collective bargaining. Some of them, such as the increase in sickness benefits, accident compensation or the level of pension above the old age pension and the state disability, are dealt with by negotiation at the sectoral level. However, negotiations at the local level can cover a number of topics such as training or the introduction of new technologies (see section on representation in the workplace). If you work with an employer who has a collective agreement, you can count on good working conditions.