Moderates pledge to uphold job security law

Moderates pledge to uphold job security law
The Moderate Party has pledged to uphold Sweden's generous employment security laws (Lagen om anställningsskydd, LAS), despite its Alliance partners' wishes to make fundamental reforms.

The party rejected proposals from the Centre and Liberal parties to axe the law forcing companies to run a ‘last in, first out’ policy when making redundancies. But the party did propose to increase the standard legal probation period at a job from six months to a year.

The crack in the centre-right alliance on the issue of labour law was underlined on Friday when Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Moderate colleague, Finance Minister Anders Borg, jointly presented their party’s new policies on the issue.

The best thing for the national economy is to maintain the Swedish model of high job security, they said.

“We have examined the reform proposals and scrutinized how their outcomes. A very big change in a person’s security results in a relatively small change in GDP,” Borg said, while Reinfeldt nodded, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported.

As such, the Moderates would not change the current priority rules in the law relating to employment security, which both the Centre and Liberal Parties support.

Reinfeldt’s ‘New Moderates’ have been consistently careful not to pick fights with the Social Democrat-supporting unions on the issue of labour law. Reinfeldt and Borg made clear the party line will not change even if the other centre-right parties press for change.

“Safeguarding the Swedish model” was the title of the presentation Reinfeldt and Borg held for journalists on Friday at Moderate Party headquarters in Gamla Stan.

The prime minister, bolstered by new poll numbers from Demoskop showing both the Alliance ahead of the red-green coalition and the Moderates beating the Social Democrats, said the Moderates “will be well prepared” to give the other government parties a hearing.

“We do not want to change the priority rules,” said Borg. “It’s employability that is crucial. We do not want to increase insecurity on the labour market.”

The only shortcoming that needs attention, according to Reinfeldt, is the difficulty young people have in entering the labour market.

“Extending the probationary period has a bit more impact,” said Borg. “The point is to broaden the employability of young people.”

The Moderates also want to develop a so-called apprenticeship contract. Furthermore, the party hopes that the employers’ costs against termination disputes should be investigated and strengthen the National Mediation Office (Medlingsinstitutet).

The Social Democrats believe that the changes the Moderates now propose undermine the security of the labour market. The party’s labour market political spokesperson Sven-Erik Österberg called it “yet another attack on the Swedish model.”

“Now the government wants to extend the probationary period further, from six to 12 months. The government is deliberately increasing the gaps so that Swedish people will suffer a reduction in salary. It is the wrong way to go. Those who work need more – not less – protection,” he said in a statement.

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