tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Category Archives: Worker

A unique workplace


They’re not easy to find and haven’t been re-issued, the 4×400 pages doctoral dissertation in economic history by Ulf Eriksson, entitled “Gruva och arbete. Kiirunavaara 1890-1990” (in Swedish, translated as “Mine and work. Kiirunavaara 1890-1990”). Published and defended in 1991 at Uppsala University, Eriksson (from Kiruna) presents an impressive, predominantly empirical, labour process history from inside the gates of the Kiruna mine. We have once again got our hands on […]

Storyteller #25 – an indigenous voice


Talking to an indigenous man from one of the Same villages in the Kiruna area, we ask: In your village, with reindeer herding and such, is it okay to work in the mine? Yes, it is. It must be up to each one of us because we live in a society that looks the way it does. With the economic values we have, I completely understand a young person growing up […]

Storyteller #24 – the work rotation vs. the local community


Last year we met a local politician in Kiruna. One theme in our conversation was how different work rotation schedules related to the local community, since workers who work in Kiruna but don’t live in Kiruna also don’t pay taxes in the municipality. The politician said: When we discussed about there being a lot of people commuting [from outside the municipality to work in the mine], they have these work […]

Storyteller #23 – if I was the CEO…


Next storyteller is a man from Kiruna who have worked a long time above ground for the company, LKAB. During our conversation, the new CEO, Jan Moström, is brought up. It’s turbulent because Moström, here he comes and, listen now, this is brilliant, because Moström is known as “The Butcher”, but no one has felt any butchering. I use to say in the sauna after [work], I use to say that […]

Storyteller #21 – mine and society


Our next storyteller is a woman, grown up in the Kiruna area and now working for a supplier to the Kiruna mine. During our conversation we discussed all kinds of topics related to the mine and to work. Below, we’ve selected two quotes from her thoughts on the mine and society: If you would put words on the relation between you and the mine? What does it [the mine] do to […]

Storyteller #20 – they say fly-in/fly-out


Next storyteller, a young man, works for a contractor to the Kiruna mine. – I’m from [Nn], about 300 km from Kiruna. I’ve been working in Kiruna for almost four years. Fly in, fly out. – Do you say that? Fly in, fly out? – Well that’s how others say it so… – Who others? – Who look at us, who don’t live here, where I work. Or, how to put […]

Storyteller #19 – youth and work-life career in rural communities


Next storyteller, from the Swedish case, on living in a remote, small community and finding work in the mine: Where are you born? 40 kilometres from Karesuando and 220 kilometres from Kiruna. How did you end up here? I had to start the gymnasium and, well, then you automatically end up here. A lot of commuting, from the village to the town, to the village again. You lived here [in […]

Storyteller #14 – on unions and strikes


Storyteller #14 is a man working above ground for over twenty years at LKAB in Kiruna. Below is an extract from our conversation where we talk about the worker collective and the role of the union. – That time, around 1969/70 (the time of the big strike, spontaneously started by a worker in Svappavaara, not a strike organised by the union), when they began getting power over the workers, and when […]

Undermining gender


Johan has read “Mining coal and undermining gender: rhythms of work and family in the American west” by Jessica Smith Rolston (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Here are some of his reflections: At the outset of our project we knew that gender would play an important role, particularly given the history and context of the Kiruna mine (also for the Saskatchewan-case). There’s almost a mythology around the miner, a man of few […]

Storyteller #10 – education and a good salary


Storyteller #10 is a young person working under ground, educated through the LKAB program at the gymnasial level. – How did you get into the mine? – I went to the LKAB gymnasium (a specific program at the local gymnasium in Kiruna) and then you automatically get an internship during Summer, and sometimes I continued (working) during Summers. When I graduated I ended up under ground. [talk about the content […]

Storyteller #9 – first line managers


Storyteller #9, a man, started working for the company before the famous worker collective strike in 1969/70. Working in a variety of positions, he reflects on the current, tough requirements on the first line managers in the company. – …the first line managers have, first of all, upper management who pressures them from above. Then they have coworkers who pressure them as well. They are placed between two fires. […] […]

Storyteller #6 – visibility and organizational change


Storyteller #6 is a man who have worked above ground for 20 years, previously as a worker, now as a manager. His story is one about visibility and organizational change. – When you change from under ground to above ground … (is that a change from ‘we’ to ‘them’?) – That there are different practices of work, or? – ‘We get the stone up, but you…’ – [—] Everybody works together […]

Storyteller #5 – management


This story about management is told by a man who have been working in the mine for a quarter of a century, both under and above ground, previously as a worker, now as a manager. – I have my own theory: that it’s more trustworthy, for those (workers) who have to change, when a (a leader with experience of working in a mine) comes. ‘He’s one of us, so he […]

Storyteller #4 – work and culture


Our storyteller #4 is a man, born and raised in Kiruna, a long-time miner, but who has now left LKAB. Below is a short but rather layered story on work and culture: – There is a kind of escape tendency at LK(AB), people are curious about trying something new since LK is rather controlled. It’s a big company, there are a lot of meetings, there are unbelievably many protocols, and it shall… […]