Thursday, September 16, 2010

Slave Wages in Modern Sweden

If you thought that Sweden was a nation of high paid, highly skilled workers, strong Labor Unions, workers rights, and good working conditions, than think again.  Welcome to the New Sweden that is encouraging the immigration of cheap labor from India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Eastern European countries and at a time when the official unemployment figure is around 9 %, but in reality is probably more like 35 to 40 %.  People attending school or who are on practicums are considered employed.  Also refuges, those on sick and disability pensions,  and those on social welfare are not included in the tally and they number in the millions.

There was a news story yesterday about a conflict between Kristainstad Township and a Farm that has Ukrainian farm workers that are earning 12 swedish crowns per hour when they were promised 500 to 750 euro as a monthly salary.  Last time I checked a swedish crown was worth around seven per one U.S. dollar and 9.23 swedish crowns to one Euro.

Turns out the Township has an agreement with the Swedish Immigration Department that has an agreement with a company called Anrol AB.  This is a corporate farm that projects six million kg of vegetable sales in 2010 and ships out three full trailer trucks per day to several European Lands.  This company has a collective agreement with a Union, but turns out that they have contracted workers through another company that doesn't have a collective agreement with Anrol, AB.  Here we go again.  Swedish Companies by passing around  Swedish Law and doing it by playing the shell game.  We are not responsible, the other company is.  This is the same stragery used with the Chinese Berry Pickers if you had read the August blog entry that I wrote about their predictament.  Can you see a clear pattern emerging?  I could say, Shame on you, but know that this would fall upon deaf and non-caring ears. It would have the same effect as asking a group of hungry foxes to stay away from the chicken coop.

This is a growing trend in Sweden today.  A few weeks ago it was revealed that there were building workers working for 16 swedish crowns per hour.  When the companies are caught red handed breaking Swedish Law, the government's position is usually that they should know better, or the law as written is weak, or there's nothing we can do.  The party line is we need skilled workers from outside Sweden's borders, but I think that perhaps the unofficial party line is, let's break the unions and lower labor costs.  Same thing began in the good old U.S. of A in the eighties.  Heads were hidden in the sand as illegal Mexican workers flooded over the border supplying cheap labor and thus helping to lower wages and weaken the Labor Unions.

It is sad to see a nation that once stood as a model to the world imploding from within due to the selfishness and greed of a few of wealth and political influence.  It is going the way that has lead to the collapse of all that was good in my own homeland and our national communities around the world.

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