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UNIONS

Swedish top bosses ‘are underpaid’

Swedish bosses and board members of Sweden-based companies are underpaid, the head of the country's biggest employers' organization has said.

Michael Treschow, chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and of Ericsson and Electrolux, wrote in Wednesday’s Svenska Dagbladet that large companies based in Sweden do not pay their board members enough. This makes it difficult to recruit the top international talent needed by companies working in a globalized economy, he claimed.

Treschow also claimed that the salaries of the most senior executives at Swedish multinational companies are way below those paid by privately owned finance companies. These private companies are not subject to the same scrutiny as Swedish listed companies. He warned that many talented young people were being lured away from major Swedish firms as a result.

Unions and employers, who are about to embark on national wage negotiations, should bear in mind the lessons of the 1970s, which proved a destructive period for the Swedish economy, Treschow wrote.

“Then, we lived in the belief that the exceptionally good economic situation of the 1960s would just continue. But this did not happen. Today we live in an open international economy where the relationships between labour and capital are being drastically changed.”

Treschow also slammed unions for showing solidarity to those who already have a job:

“Those in the unions who are demanding the biggest wage increases seem not to be paying attention to the need to create opportunities for those who today are outside the employment market.”

WORK

Swedish unions want to curb labour migration

Swedish blue-collar trade unions have said it is time for Sweden to revise its labour migration policies, and reintroduce employers' commitment to prove how foreign workers fill gaps in the Swedish market.

Swedish unions want to curb labour migration

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, LO, wants to reduce migration from outside the Nordic region to Sweden in fields where its 14 blue-collar member unions represent workers.

In a report presented on Wednesday, LO noted that two thirds of permits for non-Nordic citizens are issued for professions where there is already high domestic competition for jobs. The professions include cleaners, construction workers, and employees in the hospitality sector.

“We are not saying that the unions should have some kind of veto,” LO spokesman Thord Ingesson told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

“But we think giving permits should be based on some kind of list from the Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) that shows in which fields employers are having problems finding people.”

The confederation further argues that the reform had not helped plug holes in the labour market, but instead shifted the power balance between employees and employers to the latter’s favour.

The reform, they said, had also opened the doors to exploitation and that authorities needed to take greater responsibility in vetting employers who apply to bring in foreign workers to make sure they were accountable.

The confederation further said that issuing work permits that mean workers have to leave the country if the contract is terminated meant that employees became dependent on their employer. Such a dependence was a threat to their right to highlight concerns in the workplace and their right to take an employer to task if details of their job contract were not honoured.

The permits, LO suggested, should not be tied to a specific employer.

TT/The Local/at

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