Only a few international motions but all concerning important issues

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Only six of a total of 271 motions to the LO Congress this year, are about international issues. Why not more? We asked Lise-Lotte Lenberg, assistant head of the international department of LO.
On May 31 the LO Congress starts and on June 1 the delegates will discuss the six motions to the Congress concerning international issues. Five of the motions deal with EU and one has a global perspective.

Six motions correspond to about 2 per cent of the total number of motions to the Congress. Is this reflecting the interest for international issues among the members of the LO? Or are there other explanations as to the low interest – that few people want to discuss EU-and global issues at the Congress?

The international issues are always meet with a great commitment, so it is not about a lack of interest, Lise-Lotte Lenberg states.

- But I know that many people look on the international issues as being complex. Maybe they believe that they have to be very familiar with the issues to make a proposition or to criticize the dealing of them at an LO Congress. Besides, much of the international work is made on affiliate level, so perhaps it makes more sense to try to influence the own trade union.

Few motions can also be a manifestation of the members as being rather satisfied with the international work of the LO, Lise-Lotte Lenberg continues. However, the motions received are both interesting and relevant.

The motions deal with the true core issues, as the new EU-treaty, the social charter and the elections to the European Parliament next year. These are issues that we really need to discuss together.

One of the motions, presented by the Building Workers’ branch 12 in Gothenburg, is of the opinion that the new EU-Treaty strengthens the power of EU, at the expense of the member states, and they want LO and the Social-democrats to work for a referendum on the Treaty.

This discussion exists and it is excellent that we can bring it up and debate this important issue at the Congress, says Lise-Lotte Lenberg.

She also mentions the Municipal Workers in the northern part of Sweden who proposes reliable efforts of information before the elections to the European Parliament in June 2009.

The elections to the European Parliament is extremely important to us in the trade union movement, that we get representatives in the Parliament, who are prepared to fight for the Swedish labour market model.. We really need to concentrate on good information to the members and on mobilizing them.

This year as at earlier congresses, representatives of the sister organisations in Europe and on the global level, will be attending the Congress. This year, some 70 organisations have been invited from, among others, South Africa, Palestine, Israel, Brazil and Zimbabwe and all the European countries that LO cooperates with. What do the foreign guests get from listening to the Congress deliberations?

We produce documentation in different languages concerning the most important issues of the Congress to make it possible for them to follow the debate, and there is interpretation available in the Congress Hall. The guests also participate in the committees, discussing the international programme.

It is always interesting to listen to what issues are being discussed in the different countries and how you argue, the same thing goes for the LO, when attending congresses in other countries. And there are many discussions among the guests –congresses are really international trade union meeting places, where many important issues are discussed.

Two of the guests will give speeches, Guy Ryder, general secretary of ITUC- The International Trade Union Confederation and John Monks, general secretary of ETUC- the European Trade Union Confederation.

The interest of the foreign trade union organisations for the LO Congress is especially great this year, Lise-Lotte Lenberg states.

- Our president is also the president of the ETUC and has as such an extra important position. Many participants are probably coming to listen to Wanja!

Read more about the LO Congress.