At least 16 people – political advisors, experts, press secretaries and administrative staff – and in the Swedish Social Democrats’ office in the European Parliament are either left or fired, in the two and a half years since the EU 2019 election. Long-term sick leave due to stress.
When the new group of MEPs convened in Brussels after the EU elections in May 2019, 15 people were working in the S. Chancellery. Today, there are only six people left from the original permanent staff.
Many new employees also left after a short time, sometimes only a few weeks later. A total of 20 people now work in the group.
A person with insight into S-Chancellor He says the mood immediately turned bad when the five EU parliamentarians Helen Fritzon, Evin Incir, Erik Bergkvist, Johan Danielson and Jett Gottland started in 2019.
Many employees had difficulty cooperating with some of the politicians they worked with. When they brought cases, they felt that they did not receive support from the head of the Swedish Social Democratic delegation to Parliament, Helen Fritzon.
As head of delegation, Fritzon bears ultimate responsibility for everyone working in the office. According to DN sources, a number of employees were told that they will step up.
– In the past when conflicts arose, and that sometimes when you work a lot, under hard pressure, you can always be honest, there was acceptance, says one person.
Not everyone shares Helen Fritson’s view. One person says she feels she is acting professionally.
A problem in this context is that the staff in the office is officially employed by the European Parliament, not by the Social Democratic Party or any other Swedish organisation. Nor are they members of any regular trade union.
High employee turnover It means that the office may be understaffed for long periods. It was those who stayed working to cover for losses. Many say the workload is unreasonable.
– You’ll be available all the time, late at night, on weekends. There were always comments about what time people come into the office and leave. Another source says that there were fourteen hours of work per day, without breaks and lunches.
The way the people were treated is not worthy of a political party, least of all the Social Democrats.
Staff flight and sick leave led to an external work environment consultant being hired in the fall of 2020. Her report was submitted in May of this year. dn read the summary conclusions.
She says, “Obviously the business needs to carry out development and improvement work. There has been a high level of sick leave associated with stress and even those who work ‘well’ and maintain a mask of testifying that they experience an unsustainable situation.”
– The way people were treated is not worthy of a political party, least of all the Social Democrats, says another source.
After a consultant’s report was presented and recruited by a new chief of staff, the third since 2019, the situation has improved, according to several people DN spoke to. Nowadays, work is treated in a more professional work environment, according to a source.
In the European Parliament, staff rotation is very common as an assistant employment contract is linked to the term member of office. In the moderates, where the four members were newly elected, for example, eight have left since 2019.
The S-group is an exception when it comes to contracts. There, employees have permanent positions, which means that a member cannot freely choose their employees.
Helen Fritson does not see that It is also remarkable that many have left the Chancellery. On the contrary, she thinks it fertilizes the interchange staff between, for example, government offices and Brussels, between the S delegation and other parts of the European Parliament.
– It is a form of continuing education in politically led organizations that you are in a particular organization for a period of time and then move on to the next stage. During his previous term, 2014-2019, there were 17 people who switched to other jobs, says Helen Fritzon.
It is a form of continuing education in politically led organizations that you are in a particular organization for a period of time and then move on to the next stage.
Her picture of the ergonomics problems in the S-Chancellor differs from those that DN sources paint for. According to her, there were already problems with sick leave when new members took office in Brussels in the summer of 2019. She then appointed an internal investigation.
People who have knowledge If the situation at that time rejects information about problems with sick leave. According to her, she did not have a different sick leave relationship during the previous period from the office to the work environment.
Helen Fritson also says that the budget allowed for more people to be employed in the office. Accordingly, the current 15 jobs have been increased to 20.
– It was important when it came to the distribution of work in the office. We started the change and are now in the middle of building a professional organization, she says.
The work was made more difficult by the fact that the epidemic, which struck in March 2020, limited physical contact, she states.
Does that mean there haven’t been any work environment problems at all, except those that have to do with the pandemic?
– We have had two people during this period that stopped because together we can judge that this was not a proper job, answers Helen Fritzon.
But why was an outside consultant hired in the fall of 2020?
– It was on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff at the time, who had experience in this work before. But there was also a background of long-term sick leave, which one must take seriously.
Helen Fritzon mentions that many young people with work and higher academic education are in the office.
– My experience is that among these, the disease rates are usually a little lower, so it is clearly an indication. But she says it was really reinforced by the fact that we were isolated in a pandemic.
Working in an office is demanding, she stresses.
– In a job like this, you are high performance and resistant to stress. So, we have agreements that you have a slightly higher salary than in the corresponding positions in Sweden and we have negotiated an agreement on compensation days that you can take out to recover.
Including holidays, employees of the S-Chancellor, depending on age, have between 45 and 50 days each year.
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