Sahlin left trade union for eleven years

Mona Sahlin left her trade union for a period of eleven years before rejoining in December 2006. The leaders of several trade unions have criticised the next leader of the Social Democrat for her lengthy absence from their ranks.

“I left the Commercial Employees’ Union in connection with the Sahlin Affair, at which point I also became self-employed. The decision was taken with the union’s understanding,” said Sahlin.

Mona Sahlin says she first joined the union when she began working at the age of 19 or 20. But she left at the time of the scandal surrounding the purchase of private goods and services using her ministerial credit card.

“After the election defeat, which put us in opposition, it seemed natural to become a member of the Commercial Employees’ Union again,” said Sahlin.

Annette Carnhede, chairwoman of the Union of Civil Servants, announced on Thursday that she had offered Sahlin membership of her organisation. She sent application forms to Sahlin but did not receive a response.

“I don’t remember getting any application forms from the Union of Civil Servants. And I wouldn’t have joined them in any case. The Commercial Employees’ Union is my union,” said Sahlin.

She declined to comment on criticism from other union representatives on the grounds that she has not heard what they have had to say.

Building Workers’ Union chairman Hans Till said on Thursday that, “part of belonging to a workers’ movement means belonging to a trade union”.

“Even during the time i spent outside the union I have always worked in the best interests of unions,” Sahlin told news agency TT on Friday.

Lars-Anders Häggström, chairman of the Commercial Employees’ Union, is delighted to have Sahlin back on board.

“It pleases me that the next leader of the Social Democrat party is a member of the Commercial Workers’ Union, just like her predecessor Göran Persson,” Häggström told Handelsnytt.

He adds however that it would have been preferable for Sahlin to have rejoined the union earlier than December 2006.