The Swedish Ghent system and trade unions under pressure

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In January 2007 the Swedish centre-right government in office since September 2006 raised considerably fees for union unemployment funds. Union membership (fund membership included) therefore suddenly became much more expensive. Trade unions lost 8% of their members over two years and union density fell by 6 percentage points (from 77% in 2006 to 71% in 2008), while unemployment funds were hit by a still larger decline. In 2008, fund fees were more closely linked to the rate of unemployment among the members of each fund. The result was a marked social polarisation of fund fees, in 2009 further sharpened by accelerating unemployment. In addition to describing the consequences of the government policy, this article discusses the ambition of the government to influence wage formation by remodelling the Swedish Ghent system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-504
Number of pages24
JournalTransfer - European Review of Labour and Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

<a href=>Anders Kjellbergs hemsida</a>
<a href=>Transfers hemsida här</a> resp. <a href=>här</a>
<a href=>Länk till nr 3-4 2009</a>

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • union unemployment funds
  • Ghent system
  • wage formation
  • coverage of collective agreements
  • LO
  • trade union
  • union density
  • density of employers' associations
  • TCO
  • industrial relations
  • Saco


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