SWEDISH SEAMEN THREATEN STRIKE OVER WAGE ISSUE

SWEDISH SEAMEN THREATEN STRIKE OVER WAGE ISSUE

The Swedish Seamen's Union announced Monday it would go on strike on April 26 shutting down key ferry and car carrier links unless shipowners improve a pay offer.

The 9,000-member union and management are deadlocked with shipowners offering a 3.5 percent wage increase and the seamen's union demanding 6 percent.The strike, by some 150 deck crew and machinists, would shut down car/ passenger ferries between Sweden and West Germany, roll-on roll-off traffic on the same routes, as well as car carrier lines operating between Japan, Sweden and the United States.

A total of 17 vessels would be affected by the strike, including the car/ passenger ferries Stena Germanica between Gothenburg and Kiel and the TT Line's Nils Holgerson between Trelleborg and Travemunde. Also affected would be the Wallenius Line's car carriers Tristan, Falstaff and Concert Express, which sail between Japan, Sweden and the United States.

Transatlantic Shipping Co.'s roll-on roll-off vessels Tyrusland and Thebeland are included in the strike threat, as are Gorthon's Rederi, AB's Ragna Gorthon and Viola Gorthon, which traffic between Finland, Sweden and the United States with forest products.

Also hit would be Johnson Line AB's container and roll-on roll-off vessels Rosa Blanca and Nordic Stream. Other vessels include small ferries between Sweden and Denmark and two small bulk cargo vessels owned by Thunbolaget.

Roger Sjostrand, a spokesman for the Seamen's Union in Gothenburg, said that if a strike was not averted by April 26, the walkout would begin as soon as any of the affected vessels entered a Swedish port after that date.