The Swedish government violates international work environment rules

Annual cuts in allocations to the Swedish Work Environment Authority have in recent years resulted in many deficiencies as regards the authority’s activities. These deficiencies contribute to the fact that Sweden no longer fulfills the requirements of the ILO conventions, ratified by Sweden.

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LO statement

Prior to the ILO Expert Committee meeting, taking place in Geneva on 28 November - 13 December, LO has submitted a statement with a long list of deficiencies as regards the activities of the Swedish Work Environment Authority.

In the statement LO presents several examples of how the government's cuts in the allocations to the Work Environment Authority, ongoing since 2007, have led to the fact that Sweden can no longer be considered to fulfill the requirements of a number of the ILO conventions and recommendations it has ratified.

- Every week, someone dies in an accident at work. The list gets even longer if those who die from occupational disease and work-related suicide are included. Combined, there are at least 1400 work-related deaths in Sweden every year, says Torbjörn Johansson, LO Negotiating Secretary.

- In 2007 the centre-right government cut the allocations to the Work Environment Authority by SEK 50 million, in 2008 by 100 million and in 2009 by 155 million. Since then the allocations have stayed on this low level. The number of inspectors declined from 360 to 250 in 2012.  This signifies that the number of workers in relation to the number of  inspectors has increased from 11,000 to 17,000.  This is far below the norm of 1/ 10,000 recommended by ILO.  The Work Environment Authority  must regain the  millions it has been deprived of and restore its capacity to inspect, put work environment demands and monitor their observance, says Torbjörn Johansson.  

- LO is of the opinion that the Swedish government does not respect the international standards regarding work environment.  Therefore, LO has submitted a request to the ILO  Expert Committee to examine the issue.