On behalf of the union of workers in Stockholm´s metro (underground) salutes this congress with radical, class-oriented unions and we thank PAME for the invitation to participate in this meeting.
In Sweden the last years we have different kind of attacks both from the capitalists and the government. The government of social democrats, the so-called left-green, which is supported from the Greens but also Left party with the contribution of the bourgeoise parties like thecenter party and liberals are attacking many parts of the labor rights.
The two last years the corona pandemic situation was the alibi that they wanted to intensify their attacks.
The state gave hundreds of billions Swedish crowns to the big companies to support their profits and at the same time, nearly nothing for the working class and thevery small enterprises. In many cases unions and the health and safety committees demanded measures for the safety and the health of the working class (like masks, hand alcohol, notto work many people together in same space etc.) The Swedish state was talking about the personal responsibility meanwhile nearly nothing happening from the state organs to control the situation in working places and the public transports. Up to now about 20.000 human beings died in covid.
Notice that Sweden wasn’t prepare for a situation like this because they privatized ALL the medical infrastructure (didn’t have even a reserve for medical materials), privatized a big part of the health care and dismissed a lot of personal between 1990 up to now. 1990 had Sweden more than 2000 places for Intensive care and today normally are 500 and in some cases increased to 680 places.
Back to labor rights we got a new law last year that decrease the already limited right to strike. Maybe you know that in Sweden only the federations and not the local unions, have the right to declare a strike and only between when a collective agreementends up to a new shall be agreed. Before and after this is not allowed to strike except some exceptions (as solidarity actions etc). Nowadaysit’s not allowed to strike about anything else except a collective agreement and itdemands thatyou informed the companies a certain time before! Any other action is prohibited.
From next year also the retirement age decided to be at 66 and in a couple of years at 67 and of course the pension is still very low and very hard to live for hundreds of thousands of pensioners.
A lot of the trade unions in Sweden didn’t react at all or they΄re were positive in both laws. This is because the union leadership supports cooperation between the capitalists and unions, a social contract as the say, so the capital shall increase their profit. This is catastrophic for the working class that only this year lost about 7% av their salary because of the inflation. Only some local trade unions organized protests but up to now didn’t help to gather a significant part of the working class.
Now the new aims from both the capital and the state are to privatize the rest of the housing that is state property and to introduce what they call “market rent”, for the people to pay. The capital wants to increase their profit by all means. The stateis coming also to privatize more sectors like the education, health etc. and last week pass a law that make it possible for the employers to dismiss workers much easier!
In our neighborhood we have also an imperialistic war that make the situation harder. On the one side the invasion of Russian federation to Ukraine and on the other side NATO, EU, and USA that all the parts fighting for the minerals, transport and sea roads, energy and so on. The working class in this area is paying the price with many deaths and injuries. The capital and the governments also using the situation to increase the military and to bring their countries inside military pacts as NATO against the interests of the working class and the people. The unions leaderships in this conflict supporting their governments and the capital taking part in the one side of this war, in this case NATO, EU and USA.
As you understand comrades the situation for the class-oriented trade unions and for the local unions in generally is very difficult, because we don´t have only the state, the local governments, and the capital to fight against but also “our” union leaderships. Social democracy is doing everything to strangle all attempts that local unions organize the struggle against these attacks.
We fight as good as we can, trying to gather the workers in our union to protest. Before with symbolic actions (because of the restrictions) but soon with other actions. We helped also our comrades with actions in commuter trains because the company sacked about 400 comrades we were working as on-board staff.
The nest period is starting soon the fight for new collective agreements, and we are going to organize meetings with our members and to have contacts with other local unions to strengthen our efforts for higher salaries, better working- and health and security conditions and rights. Fixed daily work time and reduction ofworking time.
Our union is also fights for:
- Abolition of the anti-workers’ laws and reforms that were promoted and imposed the last years
- Free collective bargaining without any state involvement against the EU law for lower salary, Collective Bargaining Agreements with significant increases in wages and securing important rights.
- Protection of the health of all people. Protection of the health and safety of workers under theresponsibility of the state. We fight for Exclusively Public and Free public services like public transports, education, healthcare.
- Ensuring the free and unhindered action of trade unions and trade unionists, against the escalation of repression and authoritarianism.
We are going to keep on fighting with all our comrades, the working class in Sweden, Europe and all the world.
Comrade greetings from the union of workers in metro, Stockholm, Sweden.
One for all and all for one!