LO Sweden to the Swedish government: Stand up for global human rights at work!

International issues Stand up for the conventions on human rights in working life, restore the one percent target for development aid and combat social dumping in the EU. These are some of the points that LO's President Susanna Gideonsson highlights in an open letter to Swedens Foreign Minister Tobias Billström ahead of Wednesday's foreign declaration.

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Open letter to Foreign Minister Tobias Billström

When you present the Government's foreign affairs declaration on Wednesday, many of us will be listening with great interest. Sweden is an important voice in the world. We are a strong industrial nation and an important player in the EU. Sweden has also always been an important voice for democracy, human rights and strong international development cooperation.

On this basis, LO would like to see the following areas highlighted in the Government's foreign policy declaration:

  • We want Sweden to continue to contribute to the UN's Agenda 2030 for socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development, as well as a fair climate transition where the countries of the world share the costs in solidarity.
  • We want Sweden to work to ensure that good conditions for workers are a natural part of international trade. The Swedish model with respect for the parties in the labour market and a functioning social dialogue is a good example that benefits both workers and businesses.
  • The Swedish trade union movement has always stood up for free trade and against protectionism. But it must be a trade based on justice and equality. More governments must ratify the ILO's core conventions on human rights at work. We also expect Sweden to ratify Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the workplace as soon as possible.
  • We want Sweden's previous target of spending one per cent of GNI on development aid to be re-established. Aid, together with fair trade, is an important tool for combating poverty and for a sustainable economy in developing countries.
  • We want Sweden to participate actively in European co-operation. Competition in the EU's internal market must take place on fair terms. Labour market crime and social dumping must be combated. We also want the Government to stand up for the Swedish labour market model and work to ensure that EU legislation respects our collective agreements. In light of the fact that a number of countries have recently been granted candidate status to the EU, we also look forward to the government initiating broad discussions with LO and other actors on how the EU should be reformed to handle future enlargement. It is essential that the candidate countries accept democracy, fundamental human and trade union rights and that healthy competition is ensured.

There are areas where we at LO are critical of the foreign policy that you and the current government are pursuing. But there are also areas where we hope there is room for consensus. The above points are some of them. LO is always ready to participate in a constructive discussion on how we can work together to strengthen Sweden's voice in the world.

Susanna Gideonsson
President LO Sweden