Swedish recruits form a union
Orebro, Sweden — Swedish Army recruits, meeting in a special "recruit's parliament" here, have voted to form a trade union. The proposed new union will not have the right to strike under existing Swedish law, but will work to improve conditions for its members, a spokesman said. The group will organize formally in the spring of 1981, he added.
Swedish Defense Minister Eric Kronmark said the Defense Ministry would not recognize any "right" of the union to negotiate in behalf of soldiers. He added , "There can never be any question of recruits getting the right to strike."
The new union will not receive government subsidies, and therefore will have to finance its activities from membership subscriptions, he said.
The recruits voted 113 to 39 to form the union March 17. Their spokesman said work to organize the structure of the union and to set up branches in regiments throughout Sweden would begin shortly.
Neutral Sweden spends an average of 4.5 percent of its gross national product on defense. Military service is compulsory for all men between the ages of 18 and 47.
Most conscripts have about 10 month's basic training, followed in later years by five maneuver periods of 18-25 days each in combat units. About 50,000 conscripts are called up for basic training every year. Annual maneuvers run from 11 to 32 days and normally involve about 100,000 men.
The armed forces employ 20,000 commissioned officers, warrant officers, and noncommissioned officers, 25,000 civilians and 12,500 reserve officers.