Major Swedish trade union’s chief lawyer for 10 years lacked law degree

Published 1 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Darko Davidovic has been a full-time trade union lawyer at IF Metall for more than a decade.

Major Swedish trade union IF Metall’s chief legal officer is not a trained lawyer, according to a new investigation by the union’s newspaper Dagens Arbete. He has been working as a union lawyer for more than ten years and has also represented people outside the union, which may violate the union’s rules on conflict of interest.

Darko Davidovic has been a full-time trade union lawyer at IF Metall for more than a decade. He has spoken out on trade union issues such as collective agreements, background checks and drug testing.

Before that, he was an ombudsman, where he began studying law on the side to “even the odds at the negotiating table with the employer”. He says he first studied by correspondence, but then took a two-year leave of absence with full pay to finish his law degree.

However, according to an investigation by Dagens Arbete, Davidovic has not completed his training as a lawyer. He has credits equivalent to less than two semesters, while the law program is a nine-semester course.

– We put together a labor law package that I took. I only got that time. I didn’t go to a full law school with things, but a litigation training. But you know what, I feel like this is getting out of hand, he says.

The investigation also revealed that he was a partner in an industrial firm, which could violate the union’s code of conduct on disqualification. Among other things, he has represented individuals and companies in the Eskilstuna area in 14 disputes and one criminal case.

IF Metall believes that an external investigation should be launched into the matter and that Davidovic should be suspended during the investigation.

– Your information is of course serious and we need to get to the bottom of it. We will start an investigation with the help of an external party. Darko Davidovic will not work as a union lawyer during the investigation, says Martin Gunnarsson, IF Metall union secretary. However, Davidovic will keep his employment during the investigation.

With over 300,000 members in over 13,000 different workplaces, IF Metall is one of Sweden’s largest unions. Since October 27 last year, IF Metall has been on strike against Tesla because the American electric car manufacturer refuses to sign a collective agreement with it’s employees.

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