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Portrait of the Minister for enterprise, Mikael Damberg
Minister for Enterprise Mikael Damberg. Credit: Sara Johansson/Sveriges Radio

Government and unions reject opposition's job proposal

The government and the trade union confederations have criticised the proposal from the opposition to introduce a new form of employment, saying politicians should not get involved in setting salaries.

The Minister for Enterprise Mikael Damberg told the news agency TT that he supports the opposition Alliance's idea of work combined with training and education, to a lower cost for the employers.

But to introduce this by legislation is not the way forward, said Damberg, who fears it undermines a fundamental principle on the Swedish labour market; that the wage negotiations are carried out between the employers' organisation and the trade union confederations.

"It is a serious attack on the Swedish model," said Damberg.

And Torbjörn Johansson of the trade union confederation LO noted that they already have proposed a model which reminds of what the Alliance now has put forward: a combination of work and education for a lower salary during a limited time period. But the employers' organisation Svensk Näringsliv has not been particularly interested in the proposal.

The move from the political opposition is therefore an unwelcome intervention, said Johansson.

"Why should the employers negotiate with us now? This undermines our proposal, and it is a very clumsy move by the Alliance," he said.

The other labour union confederation, TCO, is also against the idea of politicians setting pay levels.

The four centre-right parties of the Alliance presented their idea on Tuesday, saying it was to address the divide in the labour market, between people who have jobs, and people who do not.

The Alliance parties want to see a new kind of "entry job", for young people and people who are new in Sweden, which for a maximum of three years would give a salary of up to SEK 21,000 per month. Employers would not have to pay payroll tax and employees would get up to 70 per cent of the average entry salary in that field, and spend up to a third of the time on the job learning new skills.

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