- by Ulf Silfverström -

The year was 1940. The World War rages outside Sweden's borders. Then the Swedish Laundry Services Association is formed, a name that is changed to the Swedish Textile Service Association 15 years later. Despite the grim start time, a future-oriented ally is being developed, which obviously chooses its struggles and which primarily seeks to develop the industry and its members.

LOSS OF HISTORY

Examples of these are the following: Decisions on mandatory control and authorization in 1957, the union's Hygiene campaign starts in 1971, research project on heat saving measures for laundry in 1975, the union participates in the "October 4 demonstration" against the proposal for employee funds in 1983, intensive consultations on CFCs and beads with the National Board of Occupational Safety, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Chemicals Agency in 1990.

COLORFUL PERSONS

The Ax Pick does not do justice to the many campaigns, negotiations, training and actions carried out over the decades. You can look back at countless events and colorful personalities that have characterized the 75 years. One of them is Martin Westin. He is forever associated with the Laundry Association. Around 1970 he joined the business and became associate director at half-time, a mission he performed with a few shorter breaks for over 30 years.

Martin Westin had no background in the laundry business. However, he was extremely good at running covenants.

FEDERAL PROFESSIONALS

Martin Westin had no background in the laundry business. He still emphasizes that he knows nothing about washing processes. However, he was extremely good at running covenants. It is a profession in itself.

- I then worked at the Swedish Craft and Industry Organization, SHIO, and we were the office of a number of trade associations that did not need so much in-house staff. There were locksmiths, photographers, founders and so it was laundry. I worked with the Laundry Association at half time and the rest of the time I handled the others.

AN Unexpected Turn

Life is full of unexpected events. That is how the office ended up with SHIO and got Martin Westin as the highest official. The union that started in Stockholm had moved the office to Malmö and suddenly the union director died. In addition to the office, he had been responsible for the then federal newspaper Tvättnytt. The newspaper was then closed down and the then board with, among others, Olov Nygren and Lennart Bramell contacted SHIO in Stockholm to see if they could take over the office. Then the union came back to the capital. After that, the office has been in Örebro and now it is again in Malmö. The circle both closes and grows.

When Martin Westin began his assignment, the industry consisted of half of dry cleaning and, of course, of white laundry and laundry for work clothes.

STARTED IN THE REGIONS

The Swedish Textile Service Association was not the first to gather the laundry companies in Sweden. It was done from the beginning in the regions of the south, west, east, Stockholm and central Norrland. It was they who joined forces in the national federation. The goal, of course, was to get better conditions for their professional group.

ALTERNATIVE INDUSTRY

When Martin Westin began his assignment, the industry consisted of half of dry cleaning and, of course, of white laundry and laundry for work clothes.

- During my years, the industry changed. The large dry-water chains disappeared and many white-washing operations merged into larger units.

THE BIG QUESTIONS

From 1970 and 30 years onwards were intense years. When environmental issues came to the surface, quality issues intensified, trade union issues developed and labor law legislation changed, for example, with LAS.

- The issues we worked with varied widely from year to year. Some years it was intensive with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency examining laundries, another was the agreement issues that were the priority, and LAS led to many discussions. There were always new interesting problems to deal with.

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25% RUT deduction on laundry