Statement by the LO Congress on the Lisbon Treaty

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The LO believes that the EU needs a new and updated treaty, especially since the extension of union membership to 27 countries. The Lisbon Treaty includes a series of benefits for European workers, especially as the Charter of Fundamental Rights will become legally binding.
The European Court of Justice’s three decisions that appear to value the freedom of movement higher than the social rights have seriously undermined hopes of guaranteeing satisfactory wages and employment standards. These decisions are in direct conflict with the sense of political statements made by the European Commission, the European Parliament and different Swedish governments and have been strongly criticised by the entire European trade union movement.

The LO Congress believes that the present situation demands changes in Swedish as well as European legislation. In the long term, the Posted Workers Directive will have to be revised to guarantee the social and trade union rights of European workers. The Swedish government for its part has set up an investigation into possible changes in Swedish legislation to protect the Swedish the labour market model.

Parliament intends to ratify the Lisbon Treaty this autumn, but decisions of this importance must have the greatest possible support, and for this to happen the government investigation must have submitted its report for parliamentary consideration before ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. The LO therefore insists that the government makes sure that the investigation is completed before voting on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty takes place.

The LO Congress has decided that:

- the LO must work to ensure the validity of Swedish collective agreements on the Swedish labour market in accordance with the host country principle through comprehensive collective agreement coverage

- the LO must work to ensure that the right to create and join trade unions, to participate in collective negotiation and to take industrial action to uphold collective agreements will be guaranteed throughout Europe

- the LO must make every effort at national and international level to promote legislation which does not conflict with the Swedish labour market model and to have the social protection protocol proposed by the European Trade Union Confederation adopted by the EU as a fifth pillar of the union

- the LO must ensure that Parliament makes its decision on the Lisbon Treaty only after presentation of the investigation’s findings as to the consequences of the Laval case and necessary measures on the Swedish labour market (dir. 2008:38)

- the LO must work towards changing the Posted Workers Directive to allow for demands for Swedish collective agreements in all companies throughout Sweden.