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När järnarbetare hanterar spaden och målaren knackar makadam

Om arbetslöshetspolitik i en arbetarstyrd kommun, Västerås, under 1920-talets krisår

Rebecca Svensson

Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis 2004, 220 s. ISBN 91-554-5919-6
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

In this dissertation local employment policy under the 1920s has been examined with regard to, among other, the following questions: Who had the power over the local unemployment policy? Did a town governed by the Social Democrats try to transform permanent employment into relief work? The dissertation is about Västerås, which in the 1920s was one of the larger cities in Sweden. The labour market was dominated by two large manufacturing companies. The 1920 crisis struck Västerås hard, and periodically the unemployment rate was the highest in Sweden. Since 1919, the Social Democrats together with the Left Socialist were in a majority position within the local government, and furthermore, the trade unions were well-organised. There was also a relatively strong Association for the Unem­ployed. This association, together with The Joint Trade Union Association, acted as pressure groups on the local government. In Västerås the most important political figures were to be found within a very limited group of decision-makers, who held positions of trust in the town Finance Department, in the Social Democratic city council group and in the Unemployment Committee. Most were members of at least two of these bodies at the same time. The politicians co-operated across party dividing lines to keep the town district’s expenses for measures against unemployment as low as possible. Therefore priority was given to measures that would give State subsidies (especially relief work), but also to measures such as municipal work that was not entitled to State subsidies, but that kept wage costs down.