Sweden's tech workers launch push for union deal with Spotify

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Sweden's tech workers launch push for union deal with Spotify
Spotify's headquarters in Stockholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Three of Sweden's leading white-collar unions have sent a formal request to the Spotify music streaming service, calling on them to start negotiations over a collective agreement.


Engineers of Sweden, Unionen, and Akavia submitted the request to Spotify on Wednesday, April 12th, saying that they hoped to strike the first collective agreement with the company "as soon as possible". 

"Spotify's technical solutions have revolutionised how sound is consumed. Now it's high time for the company to break new ground as an employer by signing a collective agreement," Ulrika Lindstrand, president of Engineers of Sweden, said in a press statement


She said that the increased influence for employees and opportunities for collaboration with the relevant unions would be positive for the streaming service's business, strengthening its ability to handle difficult business changes and take on challenges. 

"This is our second negotiation request in the tech industry in a short time. It is both a way to extend a hand and at the same time give a clear push in the right direction," Lindstrand said. "More fast-growing technology companies need to take the step and join the Swedish model of employee participation. Now is the time." 

Ulrika Lindstrand, chair of Engineers of Sweden. Photo: Engineers of Sweden

Under Sweden's Co-Determination in the Workplace Act, or Lag om medbestämmande i arbetslivet (MBL), companies are required by law to start negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement as soon as possible after receiving a request. 

In the press release, the unions said that the agreement would apply only to the company's employees in Sweden, both at its offices in Stockholm and in Gothenburg where a large proportion of the company's Swedish engineers are based. 

The approach to Spotify comes two weeks after the same three unions submitted a request for collective bargaining to the payments company Klarna. Public formal negotiations have not yet begun with Klarna. 

Spotify in January announced plans to reduce its global workforce by about six percent, which Martin Linder, the chair Unionen, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper had led to increased interest in a collective agreement among the company's Swedish workforce. 

"We are convinced that the Swedish labour model is fundamentally a competitive advantage for Swedish companies and not a handicap," he said. "We hope to be able to convince Spotify about that."



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