Guest membership is offered to anyone that has been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and who is a citizen of countries outside the EU/EES and Switzerland.
Your benefits as a guest member
We at Unionen know what your rights are and are experts on the working conditions in Swedish business and industry. For just 200 SEK you will become a guest member and get quick and professional support concerning everything in your working life in Sweden. If you are employed in Sweden you may even be represented in legal labour issues. Being a guest member immediately entitles you to advice, and after three months entitles you to be represented in negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen.
Someone to ask
If you need advice and support in your work situation, contact us on telephone number 0770-870 870, Mon - Fri between 08:15-17:00. We will also help you if you have any questions, for example:
- How long is my period of notice?
- How many hours am I actually allowed to work?
- What should I do if I feel I am being discriminated against?
- Can I refuse to work overtime?
- What is the average pay in Sweden in my profession?
- What should I do if my employer wants to give me notice of termination?
- What should I do if I do not get the pay I thought I would get?
- Am I entitled to sickness compensation if I get sick?
- Am I entitled to holidays?
The members of Unionen
All of the white-collar workers at a workplace in the private sector can be members of Unionen irrespective of their post, educational background or level of pay. As Unionen is not linked to any political party we can always pursue policies that, irrespective of political considerations, entail a better working life for our members.
Our members work in the manufacturing industry, the wholesale and retail trades, transport and forwarding, research and development, bureaus/contracting, call centres, the construction industry, the forestry and paper industries, telecom, the foodstuffs industry, the media, private dental care and many other sectors.
The level of trade union membership in Sweden is relatively high – about 70 % - and membership is often encouraged by employers. This gives the Swedish trade unions a strong position which is a crucial part of the so called Swedish model.
Unionen at the workplace
The workplace is Unionen’s most important arena. It is here that we find knowledge about actual working conditions and ideas for changes and improvements. We work together and in negotiations with the employers to pursue these changes and improvements.
When you start a new job you take many of the terms and conditions for granted: pay increases every year, overtime pay, supplementary insurance schemes, the right to exert influence and so on. All of this can be summed up in the term “collective agreement”.
A collective agreement is a voluntary agreement between employers and employees on your rights at the workplace. If you are employed at a workplace with a collective agreement then you can be safe in the knowledge that there is a good agreement for you that covers your pay, form of employment, working hours, holidays, period of notice and much more.
A floor, not a ceiling
The collective agreement provides you and your colleagues with solid, basic security at work, but you or your local trade union branch can of course negotiate even better conditions and higher pay.
The Swedish model
The collective agreements form the basis of “the Swedish Model” in which the conditions in each sector are determined by the trade unions and the employer organisations. The government does not interfere, though it may set the boundaries through labour laws, as the trade union and employer organisations are responsible. The model combines flexibility for companies with security and influence for employees.
The Right of Association in Sweden
An employer cannot say that you are not allowed to join a trade union. The right of association that is in force in Sweden gives you the right to freely join a trade union of your choice. It is a violation against the freedom of association if anyone, in any way, tries to prevent you from joining a trade union. You do not have to reply if your employer asks you if you intend to join a trade union or not.
Income insurance scheme
When you have been a member of Unionen for 12 months you are qualified for the income insurance scheme and study grants provided that you become a full member of the union. You need to be affiliated to an unemployment fund in order to be covered by the Unionen income insurance scheme.
The unemployment fund
You can apply for affiliation to an unemployment benefit fund if you have employment in Sweden. The qualification period for unemployment benefits is 12 months. If you should become unemployed after one year as a member of the unemployment benefit fund, you may only receive benefits for the period that your work permit is valid, i.e. a maximum of three months without employment.
Please note that membership of Unionen does not automatically mean that you are affiliated to Unionen´s unemployment fund. If you are not affiliated to an unemployment fund then you are not covered by Unionen´s income insurance scheme either. It is therefore important that you apply for affiliation to an unemployment fund.
Terms of guest membership
Guest membership of Unionen is offered to anyone that has been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and that are citizens of countries outside the EU/EES area and Switzerland.
The offer applies to newly employed people that have been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and that are citizens in countries outside the EU/EES area and Switzerland.
This guest membership is the same as a regular membership for employees giving the same services and benefits as other members. However, the guest membership differs from a regular membership in two important ways:
- The guest membership ceases when the work permit expires but cannot last longer than one year.
- The price is 200 SEK for the year or period. The guest membership cannot be combined with the introductory (regular) membership three-month free fee.The total membership fee is payable on joining Unionen. The fee or part thereof is not refunded should the guest member leave his/her position earlier than that stated at the time of joining.
Being a guest member immediately entitles you to advice, and after three months entitles you to be represented in negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen. Exemption from the three month rule may be granted if there are special circumstances, for example, if Unionen has a fundamental interest in the matter.
Exemptions may also be granted if the member is new to the labour market, for example has come directly from being a student, immigrated from another country or some other similar situation. The same applies when moving membership from another trade union.
Other fees that may apply:
As a member of Unionen you are automatically and compulsorily a member of the local Unionen trade union branch. If such a branch exists in the workplace, subsequently any member fee would be payable. Application can be made to the Unionen Membership Registration Office.
- A local fee may apply if there is a local trade union branch in your workplace
- A membership fee for the unemployment benefit fund is added if you have chosen to be a member of an unemployment benefit fund
- The contribution for the voluntary part of the Unionen income insurance scheme is added if you have chosen to subscribe to this
Conditions for all members
The statutes of Unionen cover all members. We particularly wish to draw your attention to a couple of things mentioned in the statutes.
As a new member you are immediately entitled to advice and information from Unionen and after three months you can be represented at negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen.
Exemptions from the three month rule may be granted if there are special circumstances, for example, if Unionen has a fundamental interest in the matter. Exemptions may also be granted if the member is new to the labour market, for example, has come directly from being a student, immigrated from another country or some other similar situation.You do not have to wait for three months to be entitled to negotiation support if you are switching directly from another trade union membership.
Do not forget that you need to be affiliated to a Swedish unemployment benefit fund, the Unionen unemployment benefit fund or some other, in order to be entitled to our income insurance cheme.
If you wish to be affiliated to the Unionen unemployment benefit fund you need to submit a separate application form.