Congress statement on European minimum wages

Employment conditions In a statement adopted on December 1st, the 29th Congress of LO demands that the EU legislators must respect the EU Treaty and not assume wrongful powers in the field of wage formation.

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The proposed EU directive on minimum wages now being negotiated is a disaster for Swedish workers. Despite extensive protests from the Swedish labour movement, the European Commission in 2020 presented a legislative proposal that is contrary to the EU Treaty and is a powerful blow against the Swedish collective agreement model. The Swedish model is a cornerstone that has made Sweden one of Europe’s most competitive economies.

European workers definitely need better working conditions, higher wages and reduced inequalities, but it is quite wrong to give up the trade union struggle and rely on European legislation as the grand solution. For Swedish workers, the situation is particularly serious because a European wage law threatens our way of negotiating wages and general terms and conditions in collective agreements.
All forces must be mobilised to defend the Swedish model. The situation is serious, and a major battle awaits. Wages and conditions in Sweden shall not be determined by politicians in Brussels or by the Swedish Riksdag, but in negotiations between the social partners on the Swedish labour market.

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation demands:
- That the EU legislators respect the EU Treaty.

- That the EU does not assume wrongful powers in the area of wage formation.

- That the Government’s and the Riksdag’s work to protect the Swedish collective agreement model and the interests of Swedish workers be intensified and have the highest priority.

- That self-regulatory and well-functioning collective agreement models such as the Swedish model shall be completely excluded from any European wage law.

- That Sweden does not implement an EU directive on minimum wages into Swedish law.