Klarna Staff in Sweden to Strike Over Dispute on Employee Influence

Published 5 months ago

Swedish employees of fintech giant Klarna are planning a strike next week following unsuccessful union negotiations. The dispute centers around the implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), a common labor agreement that governs working conditions, leave, and salaries.

Collective Bargaining Agreement Controversy

Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjörer, two of the striking unions, are advocating for a CBA. These agreements are prevalent in Sweden, covering over 90 percent of employees. However, tech startups like Klarna and Spotify do not currently operate under CBAs.

The striking unions argue that a CBA would increase employee influence and benefits, particularly in significant company decisions such as layoffs. Sen Kanner, Klarna AML specialist and president of Unionen, says that a CBA would “give employees a voice in a lot more decisions before they are put in place.”

Klarna’s Stance on the Issue

Klarna, however, opposes the proposed CBA, claiming it would hinder the company’s speed and flexibility. CEO Sebastian Siemiatokowski doubts that a CBA would offer better working conditions than the company’s current offerings. He has also expressed concerns about a lack of evidence indicating substantial employee interest in these changes.

Unclear Number of Strikers

The number of Klarna’s 2,000 Swedish employees set to strike remains unclear. Kanner states that while they have a “really good assumption,” they will not share the estimated number with the media for leverage purposes.

Negotiation Complications

The unions and Klarna have been in negotiations for months, but they have been unable to reach an agreement. Kanner criticizes Klarna’s upper management for not initially participating in the negotiations. She believes that early involvement from senior management could have prevented the strike. However, Klarna counters this claim, stating that it was the unions who abandoned the negotiations.

Concerns and Repercussions

Kanner, a prominent union voice, feels “targeted” and has previously been offered a severance package as part of broader job cuts. She states her intention to “continue to fight to stay at Klarna.”

Klarna’s response to the situation is to remain open to a collective agreement if it benefits their employees and the company in general. However, they reject the current proposal, stating that it is not suited to either banks or Klarna’s operational model.