Successful drive for equality

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During the round of wage negotiation from 2007 to 2009, LO’s and the national unions’ coordinated efforts focused on increasing the wages of women and workers with low incomes. The efforts turned out to be very successful since the wage gap between women and men as well as that between workers and employees narrowed during that period. These achievements were presented in the LO Wage Report 2010 which was released at the beginning of December.
The figures, based on data from Statistics Sweden, show that the LO women’s wages increased by 12.6 percent and the LO men’s wages increased by 11.4 percent. Hence, the wage gap between the sexes narrowed considerably.

Workers within the municipalities, county councils and retail trade, which are sectors dominated by women, had the highest wage increases. We reckon this is the outcome of the coordination between LO and the national unions.

The wage gap also nararowed between workers and employees as the wages increased by 11.6 percent for workers and by 11.5 percent for employees from 2007 to 2009. It is the first time in over 15 years that the wages have increased more for workers than for employees during the entire negotiation period.

But if taking into account the wage increases in money in hand instead of in percent, the differences are still essential. The average wage for a worker is SEK 21,900/month as to 31.500 SEK/month for an employee (i.e. the difference is 44 percent). This gap has increased compared to ten years ago, when the discrepancy was 39 percent. Our mission is to see to it that the difference in ready cash also decreases between workers and employees, Per Bardh, LO Negotiating Secretary, comments.

Our demands as regards wage increases must be made in real money instead of only in percentages. We must continue our efforts for equal wages and drives for those with low wages.

Besides, Per Bard commented that the wage increases could have been higher without having adventured the Swedish economy but it would also have exposed us to the risks of ending up in conflicts.