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Factsheet for measure SE-1982-42/2514 – measures in Sweden

Labour consultant


Country Sweden , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 13 October 1982
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Smoothing frictions or reallocation of workers
Author Anna-Karin Gustafsson (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 07 November 2022)

Background information

The possibility to avail of a labour consultant is regulated in an agreement from 1982 between the Swedish Confederation of Enterprises and the Confederation of Unions, LO and TCO. The advice of labour consultants is particularly relevant for union representatives (works councils) at the company level to analyse the consequences of a proposed restructuring and to look into alternative strategies or change proposals. The union representatives get a second opinion on the proposed change and have the opportunity to check that ample measures are taken in connection with the restructuring. Such measures can be relocations, direct dismissals, retirements etc.

The activities conducted by a labour consultant include:

  • going through relevant economic and company background material that is important for the change decision – from auditing and annual reports to cost estimates; internal result reports and strategic documents on markets; products and technology

  • interviewing managers, middle managers and employees in the concerned part of the company

  • looking into market aspects and seeking information outside of the company

  • analysing the proposal and its effects on the business, employment and working conditions

  • proposing alternative strategies, including change process and redeployment measures

The labour consultant can be either an external or an internal expert.

Content of measure

This instrument is available to companies with more than 50 employees and used in response to changes that have a considerable impact on the employment of the company and the national economy in general.

One approaches a labour consultant only after the announcement of the restructuring, which might be too late. The employer and the union must agree on the scope of the consultations. The agreement to companies restricts the right to hire a labour consultant only to those with more than 50 employees.

Union representatives can benefit by getting a greater knowledge of restructuring and its implications. It also leads to a greater understanding among the employees.

Use of measure

The legal framework of labour consultants is more than 30 years old. Due to globalisation, the labour market has fundamentally changed during this time frame. This requires higher skills from the union representatives when hiring a labour consultant. However, a report shows that half of the consultation processes lead to some kind of change – smaller or larger – in the way that restructuring was originally planned.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only trade unions
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


The Labour Consultant measure was regulated in an agreement between peak level parties.

Views and reactions

The measure is based on a shared agreement between peak-level parties.


  • 23 October 2003: Post Gislaved - labour union strategies for industrial stoppage (Efter Gislaved - fackliga strategier vid företagsnedläggelser) (
  • 01 July 2010: Bruggeman, F. and de Lavergne, F. (2010), European Restructuring Toolbox, European Commission (


Eurofound (2022), Labour consultant, measure SE-1982-42/2514 (measures in Sweden), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.