• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedish union takes swipe at US lifestyle

Ann Törnkvist · 20 Jan 2014, 16:36

Published: 20 Jan 2014 16:36 GMT+01:00

The Swedish garden-party essential, a good game of kubb, takes place not on a suburban lawn in Sweden, but by the brushed cement poolside of an LA mansion in the new advert from Swedish trade union TCO, released on Monday.

"It's to make the Swedish Model more visible in a different way. People often know very little about it, which makes it harder for the unions to justify their own existence," said TCO spokeswoman Ana Esteban. "The unions are not simply there to back up salary insurance, we want to talk about a model that is very flexible and useful."

"The Swedish Model means that the two parties can talk about what is needed in that particular industry, and be supple, rather than have very rigid legislation that we don't think is good for the Swedish economy," Esteban told The Local.

In a bid to sing the praises of the Swedish Model, in which unions and employer organizations negotiate collective bargaining agreements, an American actor explains why he has chosen to live "like A Swede", after having tried but not found fulfillment studying kabbalah and living as a vegan. 

READ ALSO: Is the Swedish Model the fairest of them all? 

As well as kubb, and a rewritten rendition of a traditional Swedish drinking song explaining why there is no need to get the state involved in labour negotiations, the strapping actor showcases a host of employee benefits enjoyed by many Swedish workers.

He uses his healthcare stipend (friskvård) to employ a celebrity personal trainer and takes out paternal leave (pappaledighet). Donning a faux beard, he also engages in some role-play with a nurse to feel what it will be like to be old and creaky, yet rest assured that society will step in to help rather than having to splurge cash on a private elder care facility.

But why? the critical viewer may wonder.

The clip uploaded on Sunday offered an explanation.

"Do you know why Sweden is ranked as one of the best countries in the world? Like a Swede (...) explains how anyone in Sweden may have the same benefits as only the very richest in other countries," the text offered in the way of explanation.

READ ALSO: TCO explains why Swedish companies should employ more foreign-born staff

Story continues below…

While the clip may garner a few giggles, a less than friendly criticism of the US underscores the video. For example, the advertisement pokes fun at Americans' lack of long holidays. The filmmakers used a tired-looking and skinny actor to off-set the hunky "Swede" as they compare six weeks holiday, Swedish style, to the more usual two weeks bestowed on employees in the US. 

Esteban said there was no intent to insult Americans.

"We chose the US because many Swedes look up to the US, and rightly so, it's a fantastic country... but it doesn't have all the same benefits as Sweden does," Esteban told The Local.

She also underlined that the UK faced similar work-life balance problems as the US. The union saw many cases of Swedes who had worked in London, but as soon as they had children moved home to Sweden because "the system there does not support working and having a family."

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit: Swedes in the UK
'My Swedish friends and I talk about moving to Scotland'
Moving further north is one post-Brexit option touted by a UK-based Swede The Local spoke to. Photo: Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/TT Hasse Holmberg/TT

The Local speaks to UK-based Swedes on the impact they think Brexit will have on their lives and their future plans in the country.

Sweden wins seat on UN Security Council
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and UN Ambassador Olof Skoog beam as Sweden wins its seat. Photo: Pontus Lundahl

A dream come true for Sweden's government.

Swedish billionaire missing at sea
Christer Ericsson has been missing since Monday. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

A high profile Swedish businessman is missing at sea after a boat accident near Marstrand off the Gothenburg coast.

Ikea to recall chests of drawers after child deaths
The drawers are only being recalled in the US and Canada. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix/TT

The Swedish furniture giant will recall a popular chest of drawers model in North America after six children were crushed to death.

Swedish stocks rebound from post-Brexit collapse
The interior of the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Photo: Fredrik Sanberg/TT

On Tuesday the Stockholm Stock Exchange started to bounce back from a Brexit-inspired worst day of trading since 1986.

Man shot dead in Stockholm suburb
A police technician examines the scene in Tensta. Photo: Johan Jeppsson/TT

Swedish police were kept busy on Monday night after a fatal shooting in Stockholm, an attempted murder in Malmö, and a spate of car fires in Gothenburg.

Euro 2016
The humble Swede who sent England home from Euro 2016
Iceland's Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck. Photo: Ciaran Farey/AP/TT

Is Swede Lars Lagerbäck, who guided Iceland to victory over England at Euro 2016, the world's best football coach?

Sweden must discuss banning religious schools: minister
Aida Hadzialic. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Some schools are segregating boys and girls, the minister says.

Opinion - Brexit
'The EU must not become Britain’s hostage'
David Cameron also comes under fire in the Sydsvenskan editorial. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP/TT

Britain should not be allowed to delay the initiation of its withdrawal from the European Union, argues Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan.

Brexit
Citizenship applications up 500% for Brits in Sweden
A Swedish passport. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Last week saw a record increase as Britain voted to leave the EU.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Gallery
Property of the week: Torhamn
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
3,281
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se