Swedish premier in push for workers’ rights

Swedish premier in push for workers' rights
Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven. Photo: Jessica Gow / TT
Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Löfven, Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, and Germany’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, put the finishing touches to a plan to push for an EU treaty amendment to strengthen the rights of wage-earners, Swedish news agency TT reported on Saturday.

According to the Swedish government's website, the politicians — all Social Democrats from their respective countries — along with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and its German and Austrian counterparts, are in Vienna discussing “work to ensure decent conditions in the European labour market.”

The Social Democrats and the trade unions want to see more of a balance between freedom and rights, and believe that market economies, growth and the free movement of people, capital, and goods and services, must not be more important than robust social rights.

“There's a twisted competition in which one has to compete with wages and worsening conditions,” Löfven, former head of the IF Metall union in Sweden, told TT, using the example of the hauling industry.

He said the very low prices make it impossible for Swedish hauling companies to compete and called the situation unacceptable.

The agreement, which TT has seen, will push for social and trade union rights to be strengthened. 

The so-called ‘Social Protocol’ aims to ensure that neither economic freedoms or competition rules should prevail over fundamental social and labour rights. When conflict occurs, social rights should come first.