The National Union of Teachers in Sweden
Lärarnas Riksförbund (The National Union of Teachers in Sweden) is the only trade union in Sweden exclusively for qualified teachers, study advisors and vocational guidance officers. With our 90,000 members, we are one of the largest unions within the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganisation, Saco).
Lärarnas Riksförbund is a dedicated professional association of teachers, study advisors and vocational guidance officers. We do not accept anyone unqualified nor school heads, which gives us a unique ability to represent what is important to professional teachers and focus on their interests. The majority of our members work in compulsory schooling (years 1–9), upper secondary schools, adult education and universities and colleges.
The teachers at a school comprise a local branch. Every municipality has a municipal association, which in turn, belongs to one of our 29 districts. The district is responsible for the professional trade union training offered to the local representatives. For those who are still studying to become teachers, study advisors or vocational guidance officers, we have a student association, which is represented in all places of study.
The highest decision-making body of Lärarnas Riksförbund is the Congress. A Congress is held once every four years, and about 150 elected delegates from all districts and student associations taking part.
At the Congress, management level officials and representatives are elected: the Chairman of Lärarnas Riksförbund, two Deputy Chairs and 12 Members to the Board of Directors. The Congress also reviews proposals from members, local associations and the Board. The decisions made at the Congress provide support and guidance for the management and leadership of Lärarnas Riksförbund in its work between the Congresses.
To support members and elected officials and representatives, Lärarnas Riksförbund has an office with a permanent staff. The majority of the staff works in the central office at Sveavägen 50 in Stockholm, which offers specialists as well as a range of services. There are also regional representatives throughout Sweden.
Areas of Activity
Lärarnas Riksförbund works to protect members’ interests on various issues in the short and long term. The activities encompass three main areas:
- To enter into contracts and represent the members’ interests vis-à-vis their employers is the basis of all trade union work. Lärarnas Riksförbund, via the Council for Teachers’ Negotiations (Lärarnas Samverksanråd), enters into agreements for teachers with employers in the national, municipal and private sectors. Our ombudsmen have the task and responsibility of following up these contracts at local level.
- An important part of our efforts to improve the working conditions of teachers is to support our members in various ways in their professional role. We are therefore involved in the design and structure of teacher training, as well as the availability and quality of continuing professional development and research. We are also working to spread knowledge about the professional ethics of teachers, and we offer seminars and other professional training for members and delegates.
- The aim of our education policy activities is to be involved in education policy developments. Employees, and elected officials and board members of Lärarnas Riksförbund participate in a number of different reference groups in which other key education policy stakeholders are also represented. In this way, we are able to monitor our members’ interests and allow the teaching profession to influence issues that are central to the profession and to their role as professionals.