Unions demand massive wage hikes

Sweden's trade union confederation, LO, has called for a monthly wage increase of 825 kronor per employee next year.

LO, an umbrella organization containing around 15 blue-collar unions, also plans to introduce a so-called “equality pot” to boost the wages of women earning under 20,000 kronor per month.

“It is important that the board of LO has now agreed to focus on all low-paid areas as well as taking a first step towards eradicating unfair wage differences between female and male dominated areas,” wrote LO’s chairwoman Wanja Lundby-Wedin.

Employer organisation Teknikföretagen considers that LO’s new measure will do nothing to reduce unemployment and may even serve to exacerbate existing problems.

“These are very high demands. They have set the levels for low-wage work at about 4.5 per cent. The comparative figure was 3.4 per cent for the last round of wage negotiations,” said Karl-Olof Stenqvist, Vice CEO of Teknikföretagen.

“Considering the current labour market situation it would be extremely unfortunate if these levels were applied. Rather than increasing employment this will mean the exclusion of even larger groups. It will accentuate problems such as youth unemployment,” Stenqist added.

IF Metall, the second largest union in the LO confederation, also has its reservations. It is sceptical of the “equality pot” and would like LO to concentrate more on raising wages for the lowest paid workers.