Swedish employment agency faces cuts

6 Mar 19

The Swedish national employment agency will close more than half of its local job centres across the country after funding was slashed.

The announcement comes after the agency said in February that it would lay off around 4,500 of its staff as a result of cash cuts under the right-wing opposition budget which was passed by parliament last year. The 2019 budget for job seekers’ measures was cut by 4.5bn kronor (€430m).

Arbetsförmedlingen – the Swedish Public Employment Service – said earlier this week it would close around 130 of its 242 job centres, according to a local news outlet.

Sources tell PF International the cuts were made because the parliament did not think the employment service was very efficient.

The agency’s director general Mikael Sjöberg said: “We cannot carry out such a major staff reduction without making major changes throughout the office network.”

The move will mostly affect small offices in rural areas of the country, but some medium-sized job centres will also face closure. The agency will announce within the next month which job centres will be closed but it may take up to a year before they actually close, a statement said.

Arbetsförmedlingen has said it will join up with municipalities to use their premises and work out of other citizens’ service centres, for example the tax or insurance agencies.

Last month, when it was announced that thousands of staff would be laid off, Sjöberg said: “We have made a difficult decision. We will do everything in our power to support those who are being made redundant.”

The agency has 13,500 staff and 430 consultants in 242 offices across the Scandinavian country. 

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