Following last week’s news that two trade unions representing Klarna employees in Sweden were going on strike, two other unions with members at Klarna have announced they will strike in sympathy, according to local media reports.
Sen Kanner, who represents one of the original unions that decided to strike, Unionen, says she is working on informing and supporting members of Unionen, which represents an undisclosed number of Klarna employees, about questions about the coming strike action on November 7.
“We have a lot of people that are afraid of striking and one of the problems is that Klarna has a lot of young international talent who don’t understand the Swedish model and they are worried that they will be fired if they strike,” Kanner says.
The unions have called a strike after they have been unable to get Klarna to agree to establish a collective agreement which would mean the payments company would have to negotiate any large changes like layoffs with the unions. In Sweden, about 90% of employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, whether or not they are members of a trade union or not.
It is not clear how many employees would be involved in the strike but if a collective agreement was agreed, it would cover all employees at Klarna in Sweden.
Klarna’s CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski tweeted last week that he wants to continue the discussions but that the collective agreement on the table is nothing he wants to put his signature on. He said that he has been asking for clarification from the union if there were any banks, which would be obligated by their status to follow the European Banking Authority and Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority rules, who had entered into the same agreement.
Fighting top-down decisions
“At Klarna, decisions are made top-down and given to employees at short notice. A CBA [collective bargaining agreement] would change that, the employees would be able to voice their opinions before changes are set in stone,” Kanner says.
However, according to local media, far from all employees at Klarna want a strike. One trade union Akavia, with about 100 members at Klarna, has decided not to declare a sympathy strike and says it wants to continue the discussions with the company to reach an agreement in line with its members.
“At Klarna, our members express that they do not want to enter into conflict but that we should continue the dialogue with the employer. The business interest of Akavia's members is strong and we believe we will reach the goal through continued talks,” said Mikael Andersson, Akavia's head of negotiations in a statement.
I love Klarna and will fight to stay on
Last week, the BNPL company also told some operations and customer service roles that their roles would be outsourced to Accenture and Foundever. People familiar with the transition told Sifted that as many as 500 roles could be affected.
Kanner is one of the employees affected.
“It’s not the first time I’m in this situation. Last year I was offered a severance package and now my role is being outsourced. But it is very stressful — I love Klarna and will fight to stay on,” she says.
Sifted has reached out to Klarna for comments.
Correction: The article previously said there were three additional trade unions that had announced a sympathy strike – the correct number is two.