Youth and gig economy workers key to growth say leaders at Swedish union congress
Appealing to young workers and those with informal working arrangements are crucial elements in the international growth of the trade union movement, say Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union Alke Boessiger and president of Sweden’s largest trade union UNIONEN, Martin Linder.
The pair are currently at UNIONEN’s congress in Malmö. UNIONEN, the biggest trade union in Sweden, has seen consistent membership growth over the past 10 years.
“The union pledge is shaping the future – seeking a common direction in a changing world,” is the theme of this year’s congress.
Addressing delegates on behalf of international guests Boessiger said: “There are far too many employers who wish to get rid of their responsibility for many of the workers who make their profits possible - the outsourced, agency and platform workers, or the so-called ‘self- employed’.”
Meanwhile Linder called for security, development and an equal and sustainable working life for those in every sector: "We need strong unions that grow. The solution lies not in looking nostalgically backwards but by curiously looking forward. I am convinced that we will succeed, but it requires courage, innovation and that we do it together.”
Both leaders emphasised organising and collective bargaining as the cornerstones of union support for workers as well as the need for international cooperation to extend union influence.
Delegates will be discussing UNIONEN’s priorities for the next four years in the coming days. Areas of focus include creating more work-life balance for workers and enabling transition and development throughout workers’ professional lives.