Criticism of the working environment in Apotea’s warehouse in Morgongåva

It was in early 2023 that safety representatives at Apotea’s warehouse in Morgongåva requested assistance from the Work Environment Agency due to deficiencies in the working environment.

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Today, Upsala Nya Tidning reports other shortcomings, where employees allegedly received harassing text messages from their managers, among others.

The diary recounts a situation where the machines suddenly stopped during a shift and lets the fictional person Sara (pseudonym) explain.

– We call them “barriers”. When Pär (Svärdson) is unhappy with our performance, he sets them in motion to scold us, she tells UNT.

The shutdown means staff don’t have time to get orders into trucks leaving the warehouse, only to be told they have to catch up via paid overtime.

– If you say no to overtime, the boss threatens with a warning. The same applies if you fall ill or are ill. Managers often stand by clocks and write down the names of everyone who comes home and why, Sara says.

Local trade union group Unitea has reported Apotea to the Swedish Work Environment Authority in two cases for work environment incidents.

He says, among other things, that women who experience severe pain during but are not allowed to register sick.

The union also criticizes the “barriers” Sara testifies to, because they create stress. Interlocks are digital stops that activate if an employee is not performing their work at a sufficient rate, thereby locking out the work step.

In addition to Sara, the UNT spoke with three former managers of Apotea, who no longer work. Everyone wants to be anonymous.

One of the managers in question told the newspaper that she could receive several text messages and calls a day, many of which contained what she herself considers to be intimidation. Among other things, CEO Pär Svärdson reportedly wrote that she was “a bad boss” and “useless”.

– I remember when my machine broke down. When it all started again, we were very late. Then I received an SMS from Pär in which he wrote: “Bad job”. It wasn’t much fun that one of Sweden’s most successful men wrote to me like that, says a former editor of the newspaper.

In a statement to the newspaper, Pär Svärdson said.

– I am absolutely not individuals. But I work a lot in Morgongåva. Then, I discuss a lot with the managers and I coach them. It’s more at the level that you have to pick up more people because otherwise the road signs (barriers, editor’s note) will hit. I really try to coach and talk, but it’s not like I’m saying “why is Betta picking so slowly?” It’s hard to do that with 800 people.

He doesn’t deny that he often texts and calls managers, and also admits that he can get frustrated when customers receive their packages on time.

– I would be surprised if I wrote to someone that he is worthless. I do not admit that I would have ever written this. That something every once in a while is bad, or “you did it wrong or did it right”, I could probably say that, says Pär Svärdson to the newspaper and also comments on the overall review.

– When it comes to work environment and improvements, you never do things right. We have never invested so many resources in skills development. We have everything from SFI training for people who are a little weaker in the language to machine and robot training. We have safety committees, work environment committees and workplace meetings. I think we are doing very well. Then you always wish things like this would go a lot faster, that we had our hands on how the barriers work, whether it’s to protect you, not to punish you. I want everyone to join. But apparently they don’t, it can be very frustrating.

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Binnie Hale

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