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Reinfeldt slams proposal to lower youth wages

Reinfeldt slams proposal to lower youth wages

Published: 04 Apr 2012 08:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Apr 2012 08:11 GMT+02:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt has rejected the Liberal Party's proposal to lower young people's pay in the wake of rising youth unemployment in Sweden, and has urged politicians around the nation to follow suit.

The proposal was put forward by Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund in mid-March.

Björklund urged other party leaders to "be pioneers" and to introduce youth wages, which were proposed to be at 75 percent of a regular starting salary, and aimed towards young people up to the age of 23.

However, Reinfeldt has slammed the Liberal leader's idea in an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Wednesday.

"We don't reduce wages in Sweden, we raise them," he said.

"The Moderate party does not endorse pay cuts. We advocate higher wages and other methods to lower thresholds for groups that have difficulty entering the workforce."

Furthermore, the prime minister has urged other politicians from municipalities around Sweden to also reject the proposal.

However, statistics are not currently in Reinfeldt's favour. Since 2006 when he came into office, unemployment among 20-24-year-olds has increased from 16.6 percent to 18.2 percent, according to Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån, SCB).

These figures, according to Björklund, are simply too high.

"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 in March.

However, Reinfeldt argued that the problem with Swedish unemployment does not lie within the youth workforce, rather, that Sweden has "structural unemployment" in certain parts of the population, which he lists as the disabled, youth, and especially the foreign born.

He stated that the largest unemployment rate in Sweden is among the foreign born youth, however, that this did not mean there was "mass-unemployment" as Björklund had suggested.

"If you look at the traditional measure of ethnic born Swedes between 20-64, you will see a very low unemployment rate," he told the paper.

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08:50 April 4, 2012 by Happy Expat
"He stated that the largest unemployment rate in Sweden is among the foreign born youth, however, that this did not mean there was "mass-unemployment" as Björklund had suggested.

"If you look at the traditional measure of ethnic born Swedes between 20-64, you will see a very low unemployment rate," he told the paper."

In other words "Institutionalised Racial Prejudice" - structural unemployment which the government will do nothing to prevent.
10:16 April 4, 2012 by Abe L
lol, what an idiot. You don't solve unemployment with lower wages, you solve it with giving employer more rights to get rid of bad apples. It's horribly expensive and complicated to fire staff in Sweden that doesn't perform on par. At the same time address the broken reward system, so that people who do work hard and go the extra mile get payed more. And at the same time the government can help the industry create more jobs, either by investing in it or simply nationalizing some industries.

Lowering wages is about the worst thing you can do, people don't want to work hard for nothing - this will just demotivate young people even more and cause them not to make good efforts. Especially young people have tons of expenses on an already lower wages then more experienced people, at the point in your life you have to get everything as you come out with nothing after college. So now you have to get a house, car pay your bills and living while the government is trying to have you make less. Good thinking!
11:06 April 4, 2012 by Happy Expat
@#1 Abe, Whilst I empathise with much of what you are saying, you have to realise that very few leave college and immediately acquire cars & houses and the other symbols of success. That comes much later after having learned to temper our aspirations with the reality that it will take a while to succeed!
13:46 April 4, 2012 by Great Scott
"We don't reduce wages in Sweden, we raise them," he said.

What a lying hypercritic. Sweden has one of the highest rates of unemployment in Europe. If you are unemployed in Sweden you are forced to work on the atrocious phase 3 program. Companies can then use you as free labour, supplied by the government. Sweden's unemployed are working for very little, in many cases young people are receiving as little as 3,000kr per Month in unemployment benefit. It is not their fault that there are no jobs open them, Sweden does not have many job opportunities. Any job that comes up is filled by a phase 3 worker and while this immoral practice persists companies will continue to use free labour. Furthermore these companies are being paid 5,000kr of tax payer's money per month for every unemployed person taken on.

The only way to reduce unemployment in Sweden is to scrap this appalling disgrace, companies will then employ and pay people a decent wage.
13:55 April 4, 2012 by Swedishmyth
I don't understand. Why would a politician be asked to lower or raise anybody's wages? Is this the Soviet Union?
14:06 April 4, 2012 by hackie
"He stated that the largest unemployment rate in Sweden is among the foreign born youth, however, that this did not mean there was "mass-unemployment" as Björklund had suggested.

"If you look at the traditional measure of ethnic born Swedes between 20-64, you will see a very low unemployment rate," he told the paper."

I don't expect this from the prime minister of a country. I am highly disappointed after reading the lines in quote. That means the foreign born swedes should not be treated as equals with the ethnic born Swedes? Sweden claims to be a country that respects human right but the Reinfeldt is totally against that. Once again, I am highly disappointed in the PM for making such a vague statement.
15:41 April 4, 2012 by RobinHood
@Hackie

The Prime Minister was simpling quoting the statistical truth that here is a huge difference between unemployed young native Swedes, and unemployed young immigrants. Denying that truth won't help anyone.

If anything is to be done about the hundreds of thousands of unemployed young (and even old) immigrants to Sweden, it is first necessary to admit that they exist, and that they have a problem finding jobs. Pretending otherwise for PC reasons is not a viable solution. Finding out why young and old immigrants are unfit or unable to work in Sweden's modern economy, and doing something about it, is far more important than protecting your personal sensitivities.

There are hundreds of thousands more immigrants coming to Sweden over the next few years. Reinfeldt recognises that unless they can be made fit for work urgently, they are going to have a very bleak future here, and the already overburdened Swedish taxpayer is going to have to carry their deadweight for the rest of their lives. He is quite right to identify and face up to the problem or unemployed immigrant youth. How he is going to fix it, is beyond me.
16:57 April 4, 2012 by Swedishmyth
Swedes will not accept immigrants as equals in the job marketplace until the government drops its ideology of multiculturalism and welfare immigration. There will be no goodwill from native Swedes while they are still forced to pay for more welfare and increased violent crime.
21:29 April 4, 2012 by esvahnt
i think these immigrants should not tolerate this discrimination and go back to their own countries as soon as they can
22:58 April 4, 2012 by DAVID T
Very simple - stop letting them in - obviously they are not needed or wanted so why keep letting them in?
10:46 April 5, 2012 by aspa
Wow! Is very impressing how fast they learn from Greece! It seems that the experiment works...
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