LO wants a fair transition, workers are not to pay the price

There is an apparent risk that ordinary citizens – low income-earners and people in rural areas – will be the ones to bear an unproportionate share of the social consequences of the climate transition. LO will never accept that our members must bear more than what is fair. We want an equitable transition.

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Sweden must take its responsibility to curb the climate change. In order to succeed in this, extensive and prompt efforts will be needed. We do not have time and cannot afford waiting for those who have not realised the seriousness of the problem.

For LO it is evident to be part of the work to counter the climate change. “There are no jobs on a dead planet” as we say.

We are not anxious about old fossil fuel intensive jobs disappearing, since we see new job opportunities being generated by the transition. If Swedish industry and public actors invest in fossil fuel free technology, fossil-free products and services, this can contribute to achieving the climate goals, as well as to the creation of new jobs and export-led growth.

We are however concerned about the risk that a large part of the social consequences will be put on ordinary people – low-income earners and people in rural areas. Because the transition has a price; although it would cost a lot more not to carry it through. But LO will never accept an unfair burden on our members. We want a just transition, LO President Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson and Second Vice President Berit Mullerstrom maintain, in an article published in the daily 'Expressen'.

LO demands real investments in collective transport and this also in areas outside the city centres, to make sure that ordinary people would not be compelled to use the car, with rising fossil fuel prices.

The debate on climate issues is sometimes drifting in the wrong direction. The biggest emissions and those responsible for them are somehow let pass. Instead, the debate is about ordinary peoples’ holiday trips by air. But that is not where the searchlight should be directed.

We demand major government measures

What is needed is structural change and effective public investment that will steer the development in the right direction.

We therefore demand important government investments in fossil-free technology and fossil-free transport systems, a dense network of public passenger transport, climate-neutral energy systems and fossil-free production processes. In public procurement, fossil-free and climate-smart solutions must be a condition. All this in order to steer business and industry into the right direction.

LO also demands that the costs for the transition should be fairly distributed. Our members are not to pay an unproportionate price, not with their jobs, nor with their time or pay. We therefore demand robust investment in public transport, also in areas outside the city centres, to make sure that ordinary men and women have other choices than using the car, considering the rising fossil fuel prices.

Skills development

In addition, we demand modern labour market policy which gives ordinary citizens the possibility of career reconversion through further training, skills development, re-skilling and study subsidies, enabling them to take new jobs in times of change.

With the right focus and an equitable transition, Sweden can again take a leading position in managing structural change.