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Swedish workers' Union got a smoking gun in the argument of cheap Polish workers in the construction sector

Wednesday, 14 August 2013
The argument has been that most eastern European workers employed in various Swedish construction sites has been mainly driven by the argument put forward by Swedish employers in the sector that Swedish unemployed are either lazy to take the jobs available and Swedish jobseekers lack the skills compared to their counterparts in Eastern Europe.
The various Swedish workers' Unions have been arguing that many Swedish employers are favouring Eastern Europeans because they are cheaper than Swedish professionals are. Employers have all through insisted that they could not get the right skills when ever they needed them. Nevertheless, today the Union has mad a discovery that could change the argument.

Polish workers
Polish workers working in a constrction site in Stockholm / image SVT
Swedish television has shown footage and a report that a Stockholm city based construction site being renovated by the City of Stockholm ferried in Polish workers who are being paid very low wages and are crammed into a house at the construction site.

It occurred in Råcksta in western Stockholm were there is a renovation of the municipal parking garage. When an official of the workers Union for the building construction sectors made a spontaneous inspection of the building site it turns out that Polish construction workers were living on site in boxes, something that is against the rules. Workers are not supposed to lives at work site and the fact that they earn Skr35 per hour, one-fifth of agreed salary of the sector made their finding even more interesting.

It is argued that after the Stockholm municipal parking management gave the job to a German company,  Züblin, it placed two subcontractors to carry out the job, something which the Stockholm parking management was not aware of.
Polish workers livng quarter
Polish workers living quater which the workers Union feels is illegal / image SVT
"We have very serious questions to ask the main contractor Züblin," said Fredrik Soderholm, of Stockholm parking to Swedish television.

According t the workers Union, it is not unusual for the state or a municipality to place orders for contracts where wages are then dumped near the bottom of a chain of contractors, and that despite their primary responsibility; they turn and blame the contractor.
No one is saying that EU workers who have the right to work in Sweden are not welcome here but the Union wants a level playing field. The Eastern European should not be exploited because they come from countries where salaries are generally lower and unemployment in high. Of course if they get a job in Sweden and are paid in relation to Swedish workers and according to the rules, no one will question their presence.
But if the are paid very low as shown today, the Union believe thus that their presence here is just because they are cheap and are here to undercut the Swedish workers. This is not acceptable and if the government which is fighting to cut down unemployment and reduce the benefit bills tend to give contracts to companies that employ cheap labour from abroad, the question will be what strategy is the government placing to reduce unemployment in Sweden.
Swedish unemployment now stands at 9.1 percent or the workforce and the workers in the construction sector are the highest hit.
By Team

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