• Sweden edition
 

Liberals propose state unemployment insurance

Published: 27 May 2010 08:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 May 2010 08:07 GMT+02:00

The Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) has reiterated its call for a state-run unemployment insurance fund, party leader Jan Björklund has confirmed.

The demand is a direct challenge to the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen - LO) which considers unemployment insurance (arbetslöshetsförsäkring - A kassa) to be a union matter.

"It's highly illogical that it is under union management, all the other social security insurances are state," Björklund said to the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Björklund pointed out that the state currently meets two-thirds of the costs of unemployment insurance schemes.

The demand, which the party executive will consider at the weekend, is therefore likely to become an election issue.

The government, of which the Liberal Party is a member, recently set up a parliamentary inquiry into sickness and unemployment insurance, which is scheduled for completion by 2013. The Liberal Party has now indicated that it is reluctant to wait.

LO chief Wanja Lundby-Wedin has described the move an attack on the Swedish model. The unions want to retain control over the unemployment schemes as it means that most of those working in Sweden are obliged to join and thus become members of the union.

Björklund however dismisses this line of argument and states that Sweden has along and established tradition of union membership.

"I do not think the unions need to be worried, adding that he supports the collective bargaining model between strong partners in the labour market, while social insurances, except currently unemployment insurance funds, are matters for the state."

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:20 May 27, 2010 by Nemesis
This is not just a good idea, it should have been done years ago.

The unions should have no place in attending to the unemployed.
09:23 May 27, 2010 by flintis
Brilliant idea!!
11:10 May 27, 2010 by Markus D
I can only fully support Jan Björklund´s suggestion.

I could never understand why the unions should have to control and administer the unemployment insurance fund.

I think it´s a very good election issue - most of us in Sweden are now realizing how the unions today have lost touch with the real world, all they want is power and money. The workers come last. The Alliance could win just on this point, I guess!
12:38 May 27, 2010 by Scepticion
Indeed, it is incredible that "Social Model Sweden" has actually no proper unemployment insurance.
13:48 May 27, 2010 by bbeynch
Anything that is a challenge to LO is a good thing! Most union affiliated swedes are a bunch of lazy, demanding, individuals, who prefer to support themselves on others. The union movement may have served a purpose in 40s and 50s but is now an outmoded social phenomenon without relevance. It is high time to take a chainsaw to the welfare state and abolish this relic from history, and revert to a fair system of taxation, not the current confiscatory one. LO's remedy is worse than the disease. Vote wisely in september!
17:28 May 27, 2010 by Puffin
LOL - this is a typical pre-election soundbite fro Björklund who seems desperate to centralise everything and have extra powers to the central state and fewer choices available to individuals who can currently choose if they join and which scheme

Do you guys really want to let the state take over A-kassa so that it can be run like the state's social insurance agency Försäkringskassan that is state run and complete kaos and where it takes 20 weeks just to register???!!!

It will likely mean that it will be compulsory membership rather than the current optional schemes and that the costs will be hugely more than the 300-600 kronor that people currently pay each month - so it will be a new central government tax which Björklund will call a 'fee'

Sweden already has semi-state run unemployment insurance

- the terms are determined by the state and are uniform for all the schemes except for the amount which varies based on unemployment risks

- you don't have to be a union member to join the unemployment system

- there is a state scheme for those who are not a member - Alfakassan

But you guys who are supporting a state scheme do realise that you will be paying extra in a state scheme to cover all the unemployed actors/ballet dancers and artists- who currently have their own scheme and pay their own excess unemployment risk .......?????
21:57 May 27, 2010 by Markus D
Puffin,

Sorry your comments are laughable.

You say workers today, have a choice - OK, maybe a choice of union-run schemes.

Ask any worker about Alfakassan and they´ll tell you some stories, like I know firsthand, how the union guys(who are absolutely everywhere) will virtually threaten you to sign up to their schemes.

It´s only right and proper for the government to have full control of the unemployment insurance.

Dismantling the Swedish Model will hurt but it´s so needed!
00:20 May 28, 2010 by wxman
Liberals propose many things on a regular basis. The best thing to do is ignore them.
01:26 May 28, 2010 by Days-of-yore
What most left of centre sympathisers fail to realise is that the Swedish Model doesn't work in so many ways.

Firstly the problem with making collective agreements and virtually making union membership compulsory is that it is an attempt to politicise the workforce and is a blatant attempt to indoctrinate the whole population. If you want to have strong unions in this country then they should stop having politcal affiliation with any politcal party, only that we can they be politically unbiased and represent all the workers.

Secondly the whole welfare system is biased towards those who have already had a job and not those who are seeking work, all these unemployed youngsters have nothing, the same goes for many immigrants. This is why they turned their back on Social Democracy because it doesn't offer them any hope. You have to have been in the system to get anything out.

People may argue that we have a classless society and maybe we do. But the previledged in this country are no those working hard, earning lots of money (paying lots of taxes) and living in a villa, but those who managed to get a hyresrätt and live on A-kassa most of their life or have a full pension based on their best ten years (when they only worked ten years).
08:23 May 28, 2010 by Puffin
@Markus D

What on earth are you talking about??? Alfa-Kassa *IS* a state run scheme completely independent of Unions for people wo can't/don't want to join - it's a freestanding organisation - the same as the insurance schemes run for private business - or have you got yourself mixed up on the difference between A-kassa and Alfakassa???

@days-of- yore

Your argument seems really confusing to me

- in paragraph 2 you complain that the benefits system is biased towards those who have worked and paid into the system

- yet in paragraph 3 you rant about people living off benefits who have NOT paid into the system

So what exactly is your point???

So much of what you write is just urban myth

- Living your whole life on A-kassa??? Yet the total maximum number of days for claiming A-kassa is 450 days for those who have made the necessary payments........

- *luxury living in hyresrätt*??? Well perhaps if left central Stockholm for a while you would see that many parts of the country are demolishing hyresrätt because the young people have all left - no work....
09:59 May 28, 2010 by Markus D
Dear Puffin,

I did not say ALFA-KASSAN is run by the unions. Please read what I said carefully. But my point was that because of the extremely high level of unionised workforce and the massive influence that unions have had over last 50+ years; the average worker/new employee is almost compelled to join a union/union fund. I KNOW what I am talking about - I have had these experiences. Some people I know have even been threatened physically by their union boss in the factory if they don´t sign up.

I guess you´re a die-had socialist so I don´t expect you to understand, but anyway....take care and no hard feelings!
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