Government measures insufficient to live up to the vision of everybody’s right to decent work

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On October 7, trade unions all over the world focused attention on the fight for fundamental human rights in working life, which are being challenged by demands for ever cheaper production, where lower wages and deteriorating working conditions lead to exploitation, oppression and non-freedom.
This was stated by the President of LO Sweden, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, at a seminar arranged by LO in connection with the World Day for Decent Work. This international day was launched by a UN body, the ILO, and encompasses fundamental rights in working life, full employment, social security, decent working environment and social dialogue.

Even though Sweden has come far, compared to other parts of the world, there are still some evils here as well. Here there are also unscrupulous employers who exploit people by low wages and bad working conditions. The most recent example was Latvian construction workers in the province of Skåne who were forced to work up to 70 hours a week for 16 SEK per hour. The Swedish Building Workers’ Union was able to handle this situation, but there are more examples of exploitation of foreign workers. And the Government has, unfortunately, by the so-called Lex Laval, considerably impaired trade unions’ possibilities to defend collective agreements, comments Wanja Lundby-Wedin.

Furthermore, in his government declaration, Prime Minister Reinfeldt announced new rules on labour immigration. How many more injustices must happen to make the Government acknowledge the adverse effects of this reform?

The Government goes against wage-earners’ rights in working life in other fields as well. The proposal to triple the time allowed to employ young people on trial contributes to the problems of insecure employment for a group that already today find it difficult to get a foothold in the labour market. Moreover, the Government wants to let employers be exempted from paying the employee in case of a dispute regarding notice of termination, which undermines employment security. The most serious problem, however, is the fact that the government declaration is lacking forceful measures to reduce unemployment, states Wanja Lundby-Wedin.

The purpose of the World Day for Decent Work is to contribute to the realisation of the vision of everybody’s right to a job with fundamental rights and decent conditions. The politics pursued by the Swedish Government hampers carring this vision into effect, concludes Wanja Lundby-Wedin.