Sahlin Accepts Job Security Exceptions

The leader of the Social Democrats, Mona Sahlin, does no longer want to abolish the exceptions to the "last in-first out"-rule in the Swedish legislation on job security.

The u-turn will be welcomed by her coalition partners in the Green Party, while the initial reaction on Saturday from the other coalition partner, the Left Party, was characterised by scepticism.

The exceptions were implemented in 2001 after the four parties in the current centre right Government, then in opposition, pushed it through parliament with the help of the Green Party. The exceptions are applicable in companies with ten or fewer employees, where two employees are allowed to be excluded from the rule that the last person to join the firm is the first one that has to go.

The Social Democrats and the trade union movement were very much against it, claiming it would open up for employers to fire people in an arbitrary fashion, hitting hard on people with health problems, pregnant women and trade union activists. In the debate, the Green Party got a particularly bad reputation among trade union activists, who felt they could not be trusted.

But Mona Sahlin is now prepared to let go of the demand.

"I see no acute need to abolish it. There are other issues I put very much higher on the list," she said in an interview with Swedish Radio News on Saturday. As one of these more important issues, Sahlin mentioned the need to regulate job security for people working for staffing agencies.

"That small companies have had this exception, has only played a minor role in reality, I think. But it is a symbolic issue that I today do not think is important to abolish," Sahlin told Swedish Radio P1.

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