2 minutes de lecture

par Planetlabor

While the social partners and political parties debated the worrying unemployment rate of young people during the traditional "Almedalen week" in Gotland on June 28-July 4, 2009, a study reveals that young Swedish people would like to negotiate their wages themselves and object to unions’ all-power on the issue.


Alarming unemployment rate. Each year, the "Almedalen week" gathers the main economic and social roleplayers of the country, unions, employers and political parties. It is a key moment for public debate, in a relaxed atmosphere, with unofficial meetings to sign informal agreements which then structure negotiations for the next few months. This year, debates focused on youth unemployment, which reached an alarming level in Sweden. Thus, according to Eurostat, 25% of young Swedish people aged 18-24 were jobless in May. Only the Baltic countries, Spain and France are underneath. Indeed, unions and the opposition criticize the Swedish government’s inactivity, but unions and employers hardly propose any solutions.

Better training. The LO confederation of Swedish trade unions and the social democratic party propose, at first, to improve the youth’s vocational training by increasing the number of places in adult training centers (komvux) or in college. They also recommend the creation of new qualifying training positions, notably via investments into health and infrastructures. Finally, they propose that the age limit to receive subsidies for business creation be lowered to 25 to encourage young people to entrepreneurship. In the end, these propositions would lead to the creation of 100,000 new internship or training places as an answer to youth unemployment.

Reduce starting wages. Svenskt Naringsliv, confederation of Swedish employers, wants an amendment of young people’s starting wages to take account of local truths and not conventional tables. Employers also keep demanding the removal of the current rules of ‘layoff priority’ (last in first out) which do not take account of youth’s actual skills. The liberal party (Folkpartiet) supports these claims and proposes to allow businesses to recruit apprentices with a lower salary than that set by collective agreements and with less favorable conditions. Then, wages could be gradually increased.

Youth demand more autonomy. This stand would match the stand of young people in general, who would like to be more independent from unions. Thus, a study carried out by Almega (sectoral employers’ trade union) and Ledarna (executives’ union federation) shows that young Swedish people want to negotiate their wages individually, questioning unions’ all-might on the issue: 43% of them want a mix of individual discussions and union negotiations. Finally, they want a more stimulating remuneration system: 8 in 10 youth aged 25-30 would like to go towards an individualization of remuneration.

Planet Labor, July 22, 2009, No. 090754 – www.planetlabor.com

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