New Swedish union boss seeks welfare state boost

Sweden's Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen - LO) on Saturday elected as its new president Karl- Petter Thorwaldsson, who proceeded to call for a restoration of the Swedish welfare model.

New Swedish union boss seeks welfare state boost

Thorwaldsson replaced Wanja Lundby-Wedin who had chaired the organisation since 2000.

“We will break the back of mass unemployment,” Thorwaldsson said, referring to the fact that around 7.5 percent of the labour force are current out of work.

He continued in his speech to argue that the Reinfeldt government is undermining the Swedish welfare state.

“We want to have general welfare benefits, the same for everyone. We don’t differentiate between one person and another,” the 47-year-old former metal-worker said.

Thorwaldsson was nominated by IF Metall, the same union from which the current leader of the Social Democrats, Stefan Löfven, was plucked.

Public sector workers’ union Kommunal nominated Tobias Baudin, who was duly elected as vice chair.

Ougoing LO head Wanja Lundby-Wedin use her farewell speech to attack the government’s record on the welfare state.

“The Swedish model is shaken to the core and now needs to be repaired,” she claimed, referring to Alliance government policy and to the Laval ruling in EU courts.

The Laval ruling refers to a case brought by a Latvia construction company, who were awarded 2.7 million kronor (376,156) after a 2004 building project in Sweden was interrupted by a union blockade.

Lundby-Wedin called for stronger labour market policies, more state aid to counties and municipalities and an active industrial policy.

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