Joint efforts for security in time of transition

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Statement by the LO General Council on October 23, 2008

During October, Swedish industry was hit by the all-time-high number of notices. Almost 12 000 wage earners were given notice. Exceptional measures are now needed to master the already so serious crisis as to not make it worse. But the Swedish Government still resorts to the same measures as when there was an upward economic trend. This policy entails impaired economic security in case of unemployment and insufficient labour market measures. In the recession we are now facing, such a policy is unreasonable.

The notices have already hit industry badly, but it is only a matter of time before there is an impact on the service sector. The economic insecurity is extensive and many people reduce their consumption. When the big companies have been hit, the effects will strike subcontractors and thereafter, in a wide sense, both the privately and publicly financed service sector.

Historically seen, structural change in Sweden has been propped up by strong union organisations having made the choice to be constructive in spite of harsh economic situations. But this has been based on a wage policy of solidarity combined with an active public labour market policy and solid economic compensation in case of unemployment.

The non-Socialist Government, which is void of a policy to manage the crisis, is now jeopardizing this model. Half a million wage earners have relinquished the unemployment insurance, the compensation in case of unemployment has been lowered and training resources have been cut down.

Vigorous measures are needed to prevent the wage earners from becoming the ones to pay the price for the recession. Sweden needs joint efforts to be able to weather out the crisis.

The LO General Council therefore requires:
- that a compensation in case of unemployment, which in the first step corresponds to 80 per cent of most wage earners’ former income, is introduced
- that the fee to the unemployment insurance is lowered in such a way that most people choose to join the unemployment insurance
- that sufficient resources are allocated to the Employment Office
- that more labour market vocational training opportunities are offered
- that there are more opportunities to attend adult education
- that additional resources to qualified vocational training and vocational training for adults are alloted
- that simplified possibilities of financing the studies are introduced
- that employment support and subsidised employment are extended and reinforced.