The municipality of Trelleborg has applied for an exemption from the EU Working Time Directive regarding daily rest, affecting a total of 30 people in the emergency services.
New rules on daily rest have been in force in the EU since October 1. The European Commission has criticized Sweden for a number of collective agreements that do not comply with the rules of the EU Working Time Directive. But the new directive, which requires 11 hours of rest between shifts, has been widely criticized, with many workers pointing out that they would be better off with fewer long shifts and instead want more long breaks to recover.
At the same time, a supplementary agreement that will come into force on February 1, 2024, will allow for an exemption if working time cannot be organized in any other way in activities that are responsible for life, health and safety. The exemption means that in special cases the total working time may exceed 20 hours, but not more than 24 hours.
In Trelleborg, it has not been possible to find a solution for staffing the rescue service in accordance with the new Working Time Directive and it has therefore been decided that it is necessary to apply for an exemption, which has been supported by the municipal council.
– The rescue service is seeking an exemption to ensure that staffing levels and operational capabilities are maintained. This applies, for example, to divers and drivers of special vehicles, where it is difficult to find replacements with the right competence, says Magnus Strid, rescue manager at the rescue service in Trelleborg municipality.
The application applies to the operational part of the rescue service, i.e. firefighters, team leaders and incident commanders.
Strid says that most people in the organization are positive about the municipality’s request for exemption and want to continue working according to the current schedule.
– Currently, firefighters always have at least 24 hours off after a shift. On average, they have 58 hours off after a 24-hour shift, he says.