Unionen supports Greens’ benefits proposal

Unionen supports Greens' benefits proposal
The Green Party has received support from unexpected quarters as trade union confederation Unionen gives the party's unemployment insurance (A-kassa) proposal the thumbs up.

The Greens have proposed the creation of a new state agency should be to administer Sweden’s combined unemployment and social insurance programmes, an idea that has met with resistece from the Social Democrats and trade union confederation LO.

Unionen chairwoman Mari-Ann Krantz dismissed criticism that a state agency would make it more difficult for trade unions to retain members.

“Every union organization has to be able to get by on its own merits,” she said.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt joined LO and the Social Democrats in rejecting the proposal, though his gripes were of a differnet nature. The Moderate Party leader’s criticism was based on his view that unemployemt and social insurance benefits were too divergent to be lumped together under the same agency.

But Mari-Ann Krantz argued that many Swedes were currently caught between two stools. The Social Insurance Agency considered them too healthy to be on long-term sick leave, while the Employment Service viewed them as too sick to work.

“The Green Party’s proposal seems better than the compulsory A-kassa put forward by a government inquiry,” she said.