Sweden’s center-right coalition government introduced higher fees to cover unemployment plans, as well as lower benefit payments for those out of work.
As a result, more than 260,000 people have stopped contributing to their unemployment fund, leaving those members who are still paying to make up the shortfall with increased contributions. Many people have simply stopped paying their contributions, but trade unions are obliged to continue paying the government for three months’ worth of members arrears.
The unions now owe some 40 million US dollars - and the figure is rising. Union leaders describe the situation as a ”vicious circle”, and say members will continue to leave the fund.