Over 18,000 have joined at "boycott Max" Facebook group. Photo: TT. Montage: Sveríges Radio

Max boss: no political pressure on workers

2:03 min

Sweden's Max hamburger chain is facing calls for a boycott, after the head of the company sent a letter saying the policies of two opposition parties would be a catastrophe. On Thursday the number of people calling for a boycott reached 18,000.

Richard Bergfors is the CEO of Sweden's second biggest hamburger chain, Max. It is a home-grown alternative to Burger King or MacDonalds. But the company has been criticised, after Bergfors singled out the Social Democrat and Left parties for their tax policies. An election is coming up, and some say Max was trying to pressure its employees.

Richard Bergfors says to Radio Sweden that he does not want the Left party and the Social Democrats to cancel two tax breaks. One is the halving of VAT on restaurant food, and the other is the reduced amount of social welfare fees that companies pay when employing young people.

The Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven responds by saying Max workers might see schools and hospitals as more important than tax cuts. And the Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt says this is an attempt to get workers to vote in a particular way.

But CEO Bergfors disagrees, saying he would never try to influence anyone's vote, and his company will in no way pressure workers who sympathise with the left-wing opposition. "Max was founded in the north of Sweden, which is a very left wing part of the country. I was born there..." he says this is part of the fast food chain's values.

And on the date of the election, on September 14th, voters will get their chance to decide.

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