LO General Council on October 23, 2008

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The LO General Council met on 23 October in Stockholm. The agenda included issues such as affiliate joint unemployment benefit fund and prioritization of LO activities.

In her opening speech, LO President Wanja Lundby-Wedin highlighted the issues that become more and more important in the labour market in the wake of global the financial crisis.

- The increase in redundancy notice and unemployment is a clear indication of the fact that the economic situation is worsening. It is the manufacturing sector that is being affected first, but the unrest will soon spread to other sectors like circles on the water.

- Unfortunately, we cannot see any change in the policy of our non-socialist government. I am very critical. We can never accept that wage-earners must pay the price for the recession and increased unemployment.

Wanja Lundby-Wedin gave an account of the work to carry out the LO Congress decision to ensure that Swedish collective agreements must always apply in the Swedish labour market.

- The Swedish commission of inquiry into amendments to the Swedish posting regulations must reasonably present a proposal that can be accepted by both parties, otherwise it will adversely affect the possibility to come to terms about a new central agreement.

- The EU Directive on the Posting of Workers must be revised. It must be indicated more clearly that it is a minimum directive, and the principles of non-discrimination and equal treatment must be established. The Directive must also state more explicitly that the EU will respect different national labour market models, Wanja Lundby-Wedin emphasized.

Jointly with the ETUC, the LO calls for a social progress protocol to be added to the new Treaty, which will establish unambiguously that human and trade union rights are superior to economic freedoms.

Another important decision by the LO Congress in June 2008 was that the LO must act to ensure that the Swedish Riksdag makes its decision on the Lisbon Treaty only after the presentation of the inquiry commission’s report.

- We have tried in many ways to make the Prime Minister respond to our demand, but when he finally answered our letters, it was a non-answer. He did not even comment on our request for a meeting. Therefore, on November 18, we will carry out a manifestation to channel our anger and indignation at the government’s lack of interest in wage-earners’ security and its total inability to deal with the crisis in the labour market, Wanja Lundby-Wedin communicated.

The General Council also determined the areas of priority for the LO and its affiliates for the coming years. These include higher organisation rate, elections to the EU Parliament 2009, wage negotiations of 2010 as well as the climate and energy issue.

Finally, the LO General Council made a statement on the need of joint efforts to ensure security in times of change, in connection with the ongoing recession.