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Unofficial strike closed the Stockholm Subway

The Stockholm Subway closed for five hours in an unofficial strike by the train-drivers on Thursday the 6th of October. It made chaos in the traffics during the rush-hours when hundred of thousand people could not use the Subway to come to their work places. Some hundred train-drivers protested the sacking of their union chairman, Per Johansson, in a massive manifestation of anger and solidarity.

Per Johansson has been an active representative for the members of SEKO (the LO-affiliated union for service and communication) which organises most of the train-drivers in the Stockholm Subway. Since a couple of years the Subway has been run by the multinational company Connex, and the unions have felt that money nowdays are more interesting in the public transportation then issues as security and good working conditions.

Connex sacked Per Johansson September 29, refering he has been "disloyal" to the company and had acted "improperly" to other workers. One of the situations that Connex mentioned was an episode from the Syndicalist train-drivers strike in March, when he told a scab not to work.

Both members of SEKO-union and the members of the Syndicalist Job Branch in the Subway had reacted strongly against the sacking. It has been seen as an attack on the right of free speach as well as an attack on trade union-rights. The SAC General Secretary Lars Hammarberg demanded changes in the labour laws in an debate article in the biggest Swedish daily paper, Aftonbladet, October the 7th, with the sacking and the unofficial strike as background. It is possible for Connex to run a juridicial process for months in the Labour Court, and then "buy out" Per Johansson, giving him high severance pay and paying damages to the SEKO-union. By these labour laws Connex can get rid of union activists. And, legally, the workers are not allowed to go on strike as a countermeasure.

The SEKO-union has launched a campaign for free speach and there will be a rally in Stockholm Thursday October 29, organised by the Local Job Branch of the SEKO train-drivers. The train-drivers can not exclude new unofficial strike actions. The Syndicalist Job Branch in the Subway has declared its support and their members are fighting side by side with the SEKO-members. If the bosses sack one union activist they will attack others too, is the common meaning. The Central Committee of SAC declared its full support to the train-drivers on its meeting October 8-9. Letters of support, demanding the re-instatement of Per Johansson, can be sent to: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and a copy to the Syndicalist Job Branch: [email protected].