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union election

"We need someone who can unite LO"

Published lördag 26 maj 2012 kl 10.18
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Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson is the favourite to take over. Photo: Anders Wiklund/Scanpix
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Wanja Lundby-Wedin has been the head of LO since 2000. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix
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If congress does not support their nomination committee then Tobias Baudin could win a ballot. Photo: Anders Jelmin/Swedish Radio

Today Sweden's biggest union federation, LO, will elect its new president, but the new leader will then have the task of uniting a divided union movement.

Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, from the powerful IF Metall industrial union, is the favourite. He has been chosen by the federation's official nomination committee (valberedningen), the group that proposes what they see as the best candidate.

The LO president is usually chosen by a unanimous gathering of local delegates who confirm the nomination committee's candidate: "elected by acclamation". But this year it is a two-horse race. The local government workers' union, Kommunal, has put forward their own man - Tobias Baudin. 
Recent pay negotiations have seen Kommunal asking for higher wage increases than those won by Metall, despite Swedish wage rises traditionally being following the industrial pay agreements.

Swedish Radio spoke to a delegate from Norra Älvsborg, on the west coast. He says that Metall's candidate Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson is the best man to unite LO. "It would be a lie to say he's a real negotiator, but that's probably not what LO needs right now. Now "we need someone who can unite LOand who has ideas about the future; visions." He adds that Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson has already been head of ABF, the labour movement's education association, and so he's shown that he can handle a big organisation.

And even a delegate from Kommunal itself, Christina Dahlström, says to Swedish Radio that she trusts the nomination committee's judgement, and that she will support Metall's candidate, despite her union originally putting forward Tobias Baudin.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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