Iraq: No to war in Iraq – Swedish local unions demand action against war

While local union branches start to get involved in the anti-war campaign in Sweden, the national leadership of LO (trade union federation) is falling way behind. Three big branches of Seko (Communications Workers’ Union) have carried a resolution demanding their national union to organise a 24-hour strike on Day X (when the war starts). The branches are one branch of underground train drivers and two postal workers’ branches in Stockholm.

No to war in Iraq.

Swedish local unions demand action against war

Within Kommunal (Council Workers’ Union) two branches with several thousand members have affiliated to the ’Network Against War’. One of them agreed to a resolution to oppose war "with or without UN support". In these branches in Kommunal and Seko, workers and activists are now discussing what to do on Day X.

At the top, the LO leadership on Monday decided not to participate in the European TUC’s call for work stoppages on 14 March. They did not even take a stand on whether to mobilise for the demonstrations on 15 March. The leadership claimed that such a heavy weapon of protest as a strike should be saved for later (when the war is over?).

"The LO seems to want to wait until the UN Security Council have made their decision", says Martin Viredius, vice-chair of the Transport Workers’ Union, to Offensiv (paper of the Swedish section of the CWI). Viredius was the union speaker at the demonstration on 15 February.

To spread the anti-war campaign into workplaces and unions is urgent. ’Elever mot Krig’ (EMK, School Students Against War) has issued a workplace resolution and petition to support this work. Mattias Bernhardsson, CWI member and in the leadership of EMK, appealed to workers to take up the example of school students when he appeared on national morning TV on the war, debating with a young conservative.

This is an edited version of an article from Offensiv, the weekly paper of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden)

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March 2003