About the Swedish National Mediation Office

The National Mediation Office in Sweden is a central government agency answerable to the Ministry of Employment. It has three principal tasks: to mediate in labour disputes, to promote an efficient wage formation process and to oversee the provision of public statistics on wages and salaries.

The National Mediation Office appoints mediators in the event of a dispute between the parties in the labour market (the 'social partners') during bargaining over pay and terms of employment. Most of these mediators have previously served as negotiators with one or other of the social partners, or with a union or employer organisation.

The National Mediation Office is required to strive for an efficient process of wage formation. This means combining real wage growth with higher employment, facilitating changes in relative pay, and ensuring compatibility with the principles whereby the competitive sector (the export industry) establishes the norm for pay rises and industrial cost levels do not exceed those of Sweden's competitors. The National Mediation Office holds regular talks with the social partners and organises conferences on wage formation several times a year. It also publishes reports and anthologies on the subject, all with a view to pushing wage formation in the right direction.

Since 2001, the National Mediation Office has been the government body responsible for public statistics on wages and salaries. These are produced by Statistics Sweden. The Office's task, following consultation with other stakeholders, is to order statistics that meet the needs of other users.

The National Mediation Office has ten members of staff and began its operations in the autumn of 2000. It superseded the National Conciliator's Office, the previous government body in this field, which also appointed mediators.

The difference between then and now is that today's mediators are not allowed to propose agreements incorporating levels that exceed the norm established through agreements in the industrial sector.

State mediation in industrial conflicts has been provided for by law in Sweden since 1906.