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Sweden racing to avert shutdown in labor dispute

Mediators struggled Monday to find a settlement to wage demands from private and public workers as the deadline approached for a massive industrial lockout and strikes. Sweden was hit Friday with selective strikes by public workers which halted the Stockholm subway, put a stop to all domestic and foreign air travel, cut staff at selected hospitals, and closed many nurseries and schools.

The country seems headed for even worse action by the private sector at midnight, May 1, when the Employers Association has said it will lock out 750, 000 workers, while the Trades Union Confederation plans to respond with selective strikes by 100,000 members. A solution must be found by Wednesday to halt the private-sector strikes, as unionists have refused to negotiate on May 1 , a national holiday.

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