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'Lower Sweden's youth wages': minister

'Lower Sweden's youth wages': minister

Published: 11 Mar 2012 10:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Mar 2012 10:20 GMT+01:00

When Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund spoke at the party's congress in Västerås, he brought up youth unemployment as well as the hotly debated Saudi arms deal.

In his speech, Björklund repeated that the government has failed to combat Sweden's youth unemployment, and called for several measures to be taken.

For one, Björklund wants to offer high school (gymnasium) dropouts a shorter vocational course to help their competitiveness on the labour market.

The Liberal leader also wants to lower entry salaries, and change Sweden's employment protection act (Lagen om anställningsskydd, LAS).

"It's better that a 19-year-old gets a job, even if it's not as well paid, than that 19-year-olds should have to go unemployed and on social welfare," Björklund said.

He urged the many local politicians present at the congress to act as pioneers for this.

"Be the first to introduce youth wages. Give more young people the chance of a job," Björklund said.

After his speech, he specified his idea of lower youth wages. The Liberal Party will be proposing special youth wages in a third of Sweden's municipalities.

This special deal is suggested to give people up to 23 years of age an entry salary which is roughly 75 percent of the normal minimum wage.

On top of this, the Liberal Party is proposing shorter vocational courses for students who are about to quit high school. The idea is that students obtain a professional certificate after a year or two of these vocational courses.

The arms deal with Saudi Arabia also featured prominently in the Liberal leader's speech.

"Sweden should not have any munitions cooperation with Saudi Arabia," concluded Björklund in his opening speech.

However, he did not explain why the Liberal Party supported the 2009 government decision which authorized the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI) to enter a deal with Saudi Arabia with extensive military cooperation.

"We were against the far-reaching cooperation deal made by the socialdemocratic government in 2005, and demanded in the government negotiations of 2010 that the deal not be lengthened," said Björklund, maintaining that the Liberal Party has long demanded that Swedish arms exports legislations be tightened.

Sweden should not export weapons to dictatorships, Björklund said.

Björklund has received criticism for his reaction to the Saudi arms factory. When news of the deal broke last week, Björklund appeared unknowing of the affair, but on Saturday he confirmed that he had known about it all along.

The Greens's spokesman Gustaf Fridolin is among his critics, according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

"It's striking how everyone in the past couple of days have claimed to have very little knowledge of the deal. And the longer the story rolls, the more knowledge they turn out to have had," Fridolin said to DN.

Björklund's speech also included a dig at the Moderate Party, warning that the governing centre-right alliance may have trouble attracting voters at the next election.

"I think it's right that after governing for eight years there's a significant risk that the alliance isn't considered exciting or curious. Many governments before us have gone down that road. We liberals aren't against tax cuts, on the contrary, but voters mustn't perceive that our answer to all future issues is another in-work tax credit," Björklund said.

"It's now high time that we allow societal development to be governed more by social liberalism," he concluded.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:26 March 11, 2012 by jamesblish
The fact that we've got loads of unemployed academics is a far bigger problem. Uneducated youngster SHOULD be unemployed as logn as there are far superior, only slightly older "youngsters" who are without a job also. Besides, does he have any actual proof that lowering these wages will help? Where's the empirical evidence for that?
13:47 March 11, 2012 by Abe L
How about putting a hold to all the job outsourcing to Asia? Give companies incentive to run operations in Sweden that requires unschooled staff, that by far is the biggest problem. Give companies a lot more flexibility in terms of being able to fire staff that doesn't work out and don't require them to pay for all kinds of other stuff. Just let them employ folks and pay them for the hours worked, benefits are for jobs with staff that add value and generally have degrees and proper education.

I have no problem with the arms factory whatsoever as long as the Swedish economy benefits from it.
13:50 March 11, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Very market oriented thinking. Good start. How about creating a culture of entrepreneurialism to take it step further.
14:03 March 11, 2012 by stabbull
@Abe L

u sound like a boss yourself, have u ever heard the term 'bad bosses'? i never support absolutet power in the hands of employers, because too much power can be abused. i think this matter should be tackled more carefully-tax cuts, more incentives to prevent outsourcing, lower wages for younger and inexperienced will go a long way to abate unemployment. i never support giving all the power to blue bloods, they ll misuse it.
14:36 March 11, 2012 by crankpot
how about putting a stop to all the immigrants they are letting in, finding them a place to live, giving them jobs over our own swedish people and children that have grown up here, have education, but still no job.. no its better that the immigrants get the job first so they fit into swedish culture.. bs!
14:59 March 11, 2012 by stabbull
@crankpot

i ll not be surprised if u are an immigrant urself. sometimes i laugh when ppl say immigrants are a problem. this country is a highly taxed country. and u cant easily evade tax here, so there is no need to mention the immigrant, because wether u like it or not, they create a market, a market that could he harnessed to create employement. if u understand the dynamics of economic growth, u will shoot urself out of the old fashioned blame game. this country needs ppl.
15:07 March 11, 2012 by Brtahan
@crankpot it got noting to do with immigrants ! that was first ,second they dont have many jobs in sweden even if you are educated 3rd there are old farts who worked the same stuff all their life cannt do an another job and they cannt fire them because they have to pay them and pay a new person whos gonna replace them so it cost double, its much cheaper for the Government to have youth unemployed!!! its a fact why cannt you all understand ! you might say how? paying the unemployed few thousands 4 eq from Fk or arbetsf better than firing the old worker and pay double! does it make sense , they are waiting for few years like 5-10 till they retire and then theres a chance to the unemployed otherwise ,they should cancel all their outsourcing to other countries ,try to be self sufficient:
15:15 March 11, 2012 by stabbull
oh yeah, take away outsourcing from the swedish fashion industry i m sure cost of clothing will increase 10 times the price now.
18:21 March 11, 2012 by gpafledthis
IDEA !! I propose you call this bill the "Black Wages Act" In USA the welfare is Black and low wages Brown It's social- from each according to his/her inability to each according to his/her whine !!
20:59 March 11, 2012 by Grokh
how about lowering his wage instead?
23:30 March 11, 2012 by philster61
Marcthetexan

You forget you're talking about Sweden. Highly unlikely to happen
01:08 March 12, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
I agree 100% crankpot!!
09:49 March 12, 2012 by Dracula
@crankpot...i tell you what is the problem with some of the young Swedish people (i am not generalizing )...most of them want to be directly managers and not thinking to start from the "bottom". I did my studies here in Göteborg, and as many young people i faced troubles when i started looking for a job.It is not easy but not impossible.The problem with most of my colleagues ( the Swedish ones) was that they where extremely picky . They where all asking for salaries over 30.000.Of course no one will hire you , without experience and give you such a salary . One year after i got hired, my company started to look for other young people (and let me tell you it is one of the top companies). I have sent tons of emails, trying to convince people to send their resumes.You know how many swedes sent their CV's ? NONE....They prefer to either go to Thailand for a couple of months or just enrol to another study programme ...
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