LO members oppose cash to Social Democrats

Most LO members are against the union organization's financial support for the Social Democrats, a new survey has shown.

LO, an association of trade unions representing nearly 2 million Swedes, gave some 20 million kronor to Sweden’s ruling party last year. The organization asks its member unions to pay at least 6 kronor per member per year to the party.

But according to a survey conducted by Sifo for SVT (Sveriges Television), 61 percent of union members are against the support. Only 24 percent were in favour of the subsidy.

In addition to the direct support to the party, the union movement is spending 20 million kronor promoting the Social Democrats in September’s election.

LO branded posters showing members describing why they intend to vote Social Democrat sprung up over Stockholm at the weekend. The posters show smiling portraits of union members, headed ‘I’m building Sweden’.

The apparently spontaneous thoughts from the nine featured union members show a surprising degree of unanimity. Each of them declares “I think it’s good that things are going well for Sweden, but this has to benefit everyone”. The posters all end with “That’s why I’m voting for the Social Democrats in 2006.”

LO has long had a close relationship with the Social Democratic Party, and all union members were forced to join the party until the last conservative-liberal government outlawed the practice in 1991.

LO deputy vice chairwoman Ulla Lidqvist said she would not be swayed by the poll.

“We don’t build our decisions on Sifo surveys,” she told The Local.

“One of the foundations of our work is to act politically. When a survey such as this comes you take it with a pinch of salt,” she said.