Historic strike called off after Klarna agrees to collective bargaining agreement

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Historic strike called off after Klarna agrees to collective bargaining agreement
Klarna's headquarters in Stockholm. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/SvD/TT

A strike at Swedish payment giant Klarna has been called off after the company agreed to sign a collective bargaining agreement.


“It’s a victory and we should all be celebrating. I’m very happy that we didn’t have to strike,” Swedish news agency TT quoted Sen Kanner, chair of the Unionen trade union club at Klarna, as saying.

Unionen and Engineers of Sweden walked out of talks last month after six months of negotiations, threatening industrial action unless the company signed a collective bargaining agreement. Another three unions pledged to launch sympathy strikes, which are legal in Sweden.

But with the help of a mediator, Klarna and the unions managed to reach agreement on Friday.

“I am pleased that we have struck a deal which combines Klarna’s agility with the clarity of the Swedish model. I am convinced that we will benefit from this deal and that Klarna will be able to contribute to making the Swedish model stronger from the inside,” Klarna CEO and co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski said in a statement.

A joint press release from Unionen and Klarna stated that Klarna would join BAO (The Employers of the Financial Sector) from the start of 2024, which means it will be covered by a collective agreement between BAO and the trade unions Finansförbundet, Engineers of Sweden and Akavia.

Collective agreements have long been a staple of the so-called “Swedish model”, which prefers employers and unions to negotiate working conditions between themselves rather than having detailed legislation.

But although nine out of ten employees in Sweden are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, they are less common in newer industries such as the startup and tech scenes.

Those in favour of collective agreements argue that they are an essential part of the Swedish model, ensuring good and equal contracts for everyone. Those against argue that up-and-coming businesses in the modern labour market need more flexibility than these deals offer.


The latest Swedish tech boom means that some of the country’s biggest companies are today companies that are not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Spotify walked out of negotiations to set up a collective agreement for its Sweden-based staff earlier this year.

The Swedish metalworkers’ union IF Metall is currently striking at Tesla due to the electric carmaker’s refusal to sign a collective agreement.

If the strike at Klarna had broken out from November 7th onwards as planned, it would have been historic. The Engineers of Sweden union has never gone on strike since it was founded in 2007. Unionen last went on strike ten years ago, but for some of the other unions involved their last strike dates back decades.

Editor's note: The article has been updated to clarify that Klarna has not yet signed a collective agreement, but will do so from next year.



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