Swedish Trade Union Confederation

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Swedish Trade Union Confederation
Swedish LO.svg
Full nameSwedish Trade Union Confederation
Native nameLandsorganisationen i Sverige (LO)
Founded7 August 1898; 121 years ago (1898-08-07)
Members1.23 million
AffiliationITUC, ETUC
Key peopleKarl-Petter Thorwaldsson, president
Office locationStockholm, Sweden
CountrySweden
Websitewww.lo.se

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Swedish: Landsorganisationen i Sverige, literally "National Organisation in Sweden"), commonly referred to as LO, is a national trade union centre, an umbrella organisation for fourteen Swedish trade unions that organise mainly "blue-collar" workers. The Confederation, which gathers in total about 1.5 million employees out of Sweden's 10 million people population, was founded in 1898 by blue-collar unions on the initiative of the 1897 Scandinavian Labour Congress and the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which almost exclusively was made up by trade unions.[1] In 2018 union density of Swedish blue-collar workers was 59%,[2] a decline by eighteen percentage points since 2006 (blue-collar union density in 2006: 77%). A strongly contributing factor was the considerably raised fees to union unemployment funds in January 2007 made by the new centre-right government.[3] [4]

Organisation[edit]

LO-borgen (Swedish: 'the LO-castle'), the landmark LO headquarters building by Swedish architect Ferdinand Boberg, at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm. 59°20′8.9″N 18°3′17.2″E / 59.335806°N 18.054778°E / 59.335806; 18.054778

The fourteen affiliates of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation span both the private and the public sector. The member unions are fully independent, with the role of the Confederation limited to the co-ordination of wage bargaining, international activities, trade union education and other areas. Another important task is to promote the organisation's views to decision-makers and the general public. It also has representatives on the governing bodies of many government authorities. The Confederation is also responsible for research and signing labour market insurance schemes. The member unions, however, carry the responsibility for the administration of the unemployment insurance funds.

While its Danish sister organisation, the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, cut its formal ties to the country's Social Democratic party in 1995, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation maintains a strong cooperation with the Social Democrats. Although the organisations are independent from each other, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation has a representative on the party’s executive committee elected by the Party Congress. Also, both the Confederation and the member unions contribute substantial amounts of money to the party.

Until 1987 there was a system of collective membership in the Social Democratic Party for members in the confederation, in which the local union could apply for membership in the Social Democratic Party, effectively enrolling all its members into the Social Democratic Party. (An individual could decline to be part of this collective membership.)

Until recently, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation owned 50.1% of the evening newspaper Aftonbladet, the largest daily newspaper in Scandinavia (as of 2005). As of 2012, the organisation owns 9% of the newspaper. The organisation bought Aftonbladet in 1956 but sold off 49.9 percent to Norwegian media company Schibsted on 2 May 1996.

The number of member unions have been reduced by mergers. Most recently the Forest and Wood Workers' Union and the Graphic Workers' Union merged into the single union GS Union on 1 June 2009.

Affiliates[edit]

Membership of LO affiliates (31 December 2018)[5]
Men Women Total Change (2017)
Byggnads 77 512 1 218 78 730 Increase 409
SEF 18 518 456 18 974 Decrease 333
Fastighets 13 624 12 700 26 324 Decrease 718
GS Union 31 987 6 861 38 848 Decrease 1 096
Handels 45 665 77 672 123 337 Decrease 1 001
HRF 10 949 16 017 26 966 Decrease 921
IF Metall 200 292 46 543 246 835 Decrease 305
Kommunal 108 426 391 728 500 154 Decrease 7 333
Livs 15 317 8 041 23 358 Decrease 1 062
Målarna 9 833 1 277 11 110 Increase 47
Pappers 11 722 2 190 13 912 Decrease 370
Seko 53 981 18 175 72 156 Decrease 960
SMF 1 805 469 2 274 Decrease 13
Transport 41 494 8 343 49 837 Decrease 1 889
TOTAL 641 125 591 690 1 232 815 Decrease 15 575
52% 48% Decrease 1.25%

List of chairmen[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Torvald Karlbom Den svenska fackföreningsrörelsen, Stockholm: Tidens förlag, pp. 45-47
  2. ^ Yearly average in 2018. See Anders Kjellberg (2019) Kollektivavtalens täckningsgrad samt organisationsgraden hos arbetsgivarförbund och fackförbund, Department of Sociology, Lund University. Studies in Social Policy, Industrial Relations, Working Life and Mobility. Research Reports 2019:1, Appendix 3 (in English) Table A
  3. ^ Anders Kjellberg "The Decline in Swedish Union Density since 2007" Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies (NJWLS) Vol. 1. No 1 (August 2011), pp. 67-93
  4. ^ Anders Kjellberg and Christian Lyhne Ibsen (2016) "Attacks on union organizing: Reversible and irreversible changes to the Ghent-systems in Sweden and Denmark", in Trine Pernille Larsen and Anna Ilsøe (eds.)(2016) Den Danske Model set udefra - komparative perspektiver på dansk arbejdsmarkedsregulering, Copenhagen: Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, p. 292
  5. ^ Kjellberg, Anders (2017). "The Membership Development of Swedish Trade Unions and Union Confederations Since the End of the Nineteenth Century" (PDF). Lund University. p. 188. Retrieved 8 October 2019.