Trade unions see spike in membership amid COVID-19 pandemic, climate activism goes online

Association

Since the start of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Swedish trade unions have seen a surge in their membership. Unionen, Sweden’s largest trade union, which normally welcomes 800 to 900 new members a week, has seen thenumber of new applications double. Similarly, Sweden’s union of commercial employees, Handels, has also experienced a sharp increase of new members, with 5,000 new unionists joining in March 2020 alone. They attribute this to their effective action in response to the economic consequences of the epidemic, including the negotiation of reduced working time agreements.

Peaceful Assembly

Climate strikes launched online

As a result of the limit on public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg announced that “Fridays for Future" climate protests will now continue online via “Talks for Future” webinars. 

Expression

As reported previously on the Monitor, Thunberg has faced online harassment and attacks. In a recent attack, a cartoon sticker was circulated which depicts Thunberg being sexually assaulted. The sticker depicts a young girl being grabbed by her two ponytails, with the name Greta written on the young girl’s back. The logo of Canadian oil company X-Site Energy Services is printed at the bottom of the cartoon. According to a media report, the sticker was handed out to workers as promotional material at job sites to be worn on hard hats. The oil company has apologised and denied any involvement in the distribution of the cartoon.