Löfven promises 5,000 new temporary jobs
In his speech to demonstrators on the 1st of May, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven presented details about 5,000 temporary jobs in the public sector.
Citizens took to sunlit streets around the country Sunday for the traditional Labour Day demonstrations. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was in Gothenburg and held a speech at the Götaplatsen square in the centre of town.
He said that the government has demanded from all state-run authorities that over the next three-and-a-half years they provide at least 5,000 temporary jobs for the people who are furthest away from the labour market. According to Löfven those might involve easier assignments in administration, IT or environmental work - jobs that today are not carried out. The jobs would be paid a normal salary and last up to two years.
The prime minister said there are approximately 30,000 people above the age of 39 who have recently arrived in Sweden without many qualifications and who will need to get out onto the labour market in the next three years. The government hopes that local authorities and private companies will follow suit and offer similar temporary positions.
"My message is that everybody needs to help out. You cannot just sit and say, 'We need lower unemployment, but we won't do anything about it,'" Löfven said.
The proposal can also be seen as a countermove to the opposition's calls for more jobs with lower salaries as a way to ease entrance to the labour market, a measure which the government has dismissed.
The centre-left government has recently been rocked by troubles in the Green party, and one minister from the Green party has had to resign. At another May Day demonstration in Karlskrona the head of the labour union federation LO, Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, noted that the trade union movement had never been very fond of the Green party. But the comments were played down by Löfven and the Social Democrat party chair, Carin Jämtin, who held her speech in Stockholm.
"I wouldn't put it that way. I think all trade union members know that without the Green party we would have had a blue-brown government in Sweden," Jämtin told the daily Dagens Nyheter, referring to the political colour of parties in the centre right Alliance and the more-nationalist Sweden-Democrats, which to date has not been part of any coalition or government though it is the third biggest party in Parliament.
As always the Left Party also organised separate demonstrations around the country. Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt was in Malmö, and in his speech he criticised the government for its restrictive immigration policies and for not re-introducing the tax rebate on the trade union membership fee. This was something that the previous centre-right government abolished, but the centre-left government (made up of Social Democrats and Greens) has not brought back in.