Astrid Hedin, associate professor of political science and public administration at Malmö University, presents her research.
Astrid Hedin, associate professor of political science and public administration at Global Political Studies (GPS), Malmö University, presents her paper:
Before the breakdown of the Saltsjöbaden Spirit of Labour Market Cooperation – the Swedish Employers’ Confederation and workplace democracy in the 1960s
The 1976 landmark legislation on Swedish workplace democracy, MBL, has traditionally been regarded as a victory of Swedish social democracy over recalcitrant employers. This article shows how in fact, during the latter half of the 1960s, the Swedish Employers’ Confederation SAF actively promoted internationally pioneering ideas on employee consultation. However, under the pressure from centrist political parties and the radical societal upheavals of the late 1960s, social democracy was pushed to present increasingly radical policy proposals.
The SAF long remained confident that the radicalization of social democracy was a game for the galleries, and that behind the scenes, the Swedish spirit of labour market consensus would prevail – as it had since the 1938 Saltsjöbaden agreement. And assuredly, the actual effects of the MBL reform proved to be considerably less radical than its myth and ceremony. Still, the experiences of the early 1970s constituted a breakdown of the historical Swedish labour market consensus, and contributed to the SAF’s later turn from cooperation to conflict, which had far reaching long-term consequences for the Swedish political landscape.
Astrid Hedin is associate professor of political science and public administration at Global Political Studies (GPS), Malmö University, Sweden. She received her Ph.D. degree from Lund University, was the post-doc of the Swedish Research Council, docent at Uppsala University, and an Anna Lindh fellow of the Europe Center of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. The current article was researched and written while serving as temporary senior lecturer at the Lund University, Department of Political Science. It builds on to the author’s former Swedish Research Council project ‘Co-Determination Legislation in Europe during the Cold War’.
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