The Labour Court: Unlawful blockade warning against Russian-linked ships made by Swedish Dockworkers Union AD 2022 No 33
On two occasions, the Swedish Dockworkers Union has warned of a blockade against ships to and from Russia and against Russian-flagged, Russian-owned and Russian-controlled ships that are currently not sailing in Russian ports. The Swedish Dockworkers Union argued that the blockade should be regarded as a lawful industrial action as it was primarily an act of sympathy and in solidarity with, among others, Ukrainian dockworkers. Secondly, the blockade should be considered as a form of legitimate political industrial action. However, the Ports of Sweden disagreed, which the union is bound by a collective bargaining agreement with. Following an application for an interim decision on the matter, the Labour Court found that the Swedish Dockworkers Union had failed to show that it was likely that there was a primary trade union conflict in Ukraine. The blockade could not be regarded as a lawful sympathy act. Furthermore, the Labour Court found that the blockade could not be considered as a form of lawful political industrial action as the blockade lacked the character of a protest and demonstration action due to the period of time the blockade would last and the not insignificant impact it would have on the business management rights for the Ports of Sweden’s member companies.