Efforts against discrimination in working life become more and more important


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- What we do and what we say matter. We should prevent injustice and inequality in working life, and we should under no circumstances contribute to reinforcing the picture of “we” and “them”, says LO President Wanja Lundby-Wedin, in connection with the presentation of the report “Structural discrimination in working life – what do we know today?”
We need more facts about discrimination in working life. The discrimination issue is highly topical today, especially in connection with the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the Laval and Rüfert cases.

- It is unacceptable if the EU legislation should allow wage discrimination in the Swedish labour market. LO will never accept that workers are played off against each other, neither on the grounds of ethnicity nor any other ground of discrimination. But the discrimination issue is bigger than that. Many trade union members report on various types of harassment and discrimination in daily life.

Moreover, the report establishes that there exists structural discrimination in the Swedish working life, which occurs inter alia through unequal employment conditions, harassment and prejudice in workplaces as well as exclusion from working life. It is an issue of power and an issue about deeds based on ethnic and cultural prejudice. There may exist direct or indirect discrimination, according to the legal definition. Discrimination can be found in all areas of working life and it affects not only opportunities in the labour market but also conditions in the workplace.

- These are significant research results. The experiences reported on by the members must be put together with the researchers’ knowledge. It is employers who have the main responsibility to keep workplaces free from discrimination, but it is our responsibility to look over the trade union work from a discrimination perspective and to co-operate with employers as regards active measures, says Wanja Lundby-Wedin.

- If we are to be able to pursue the fight against all forms of discrimination, the Government and the new Ombudsman against ethnic discrimination must take the issue of structural discrimination seriously, concludes Wanja Lundby-Wedin.