General elections in Sweden

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On September 19, 2010, general elections are hold in Sweden, and below are some of the LO comments on the red-green alliance election issues
Measures regarding employment and equality are welcome

When the red-green alliance submitted their election manifesto on August 31st, it was evident that the Swedish wages earners were facing a major decision. The policy of the red-green alliance gives priority to more jobs and less disparity vis-à-vis the non-Socialist Government’s further tax reductions and more inequality. The election manifesto of the red-green alliance contains many of the issues, which the members of the LO affiliates consider most important for the trade movement to pursue in the election campaign, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, LO President, says.

According to the members of the LO affiliates, LO should push the demands for lower member fees to the unemployment insurance and increased ceiling of unemployment benefits, better social security for those on sick-leave, job guarantee for young people, theory and practice to facilitate the transition between school and work by way of apprenticeship. Besides, it is urgent to provide municipalities and county councils with more resources to increase the number of employees within the welfare sector and the development of the welfare system.

Therefore it is very favourable that the red-green alliance promises to increase the compensation from and to abolish the unjust and high fees to the unemployment insurance. Differences in insurance fees between, for example, a member of an LO affiliate and a member of an academic trade union may be several thousands SEK/per year, which is unjustifiable.

Changes in health insurance that the red-green alliance wants to introduce create preconditions for an insurance which is characterized by security, both in case of sickness and when returning to working life. LO is also very positive towards investments in the working environment, which the red-green alliance proposes. Ill-health in working life is an obvious class and gender issue. Women workers are those most affected by ill-health, Wanja Lundby-Wedin comments.

The labour market policy of the non-Socialist Government has been insufficient and LO has for a long time called for improvements of the training system for young people, including practical experience as well as education. We therefore welcome the red-green alliance’s investment in measures for jobless young people, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

It is also encouraging that the red-green alliance is prepared to reinforce several clauses of the labour law, which would make it possible for more people to have secure employment contracts and salaries, which are sufficient to live on. Today, fifty percent of LO women work part-time and almost every second young person has a fixed-term employment contract, Wanja Lundby-Wedin concludes.