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Employee funds (Swedish: Löntagarfonder) a socialist version of SWFs whereby the Swedish government taxed a proportion of company profits and put into special funds charged to buy shares in listed Swedish companies, with the goal of gradually transferring companies from private to collective employee ownership. The funds were controlled by representatives by Swedish trade unions.
The idea was launched in the 1970s, with Rudolf Meidner playing a leading role in developing the idea, and they were in place 1982–1991. Throughout their existence, they caused much political controversy. Proponents described them as an attempt to increase the power of labour over Swedish companies, and opponents described it as large step towards socialism.
They were introduced following the Social Democrat victory in the Swedish general election, 1982 and accumulated funds until the Swedish general election, 1991 where the Social Democrat lost for the first time in decades, when the effort was abolished. While the accumulated wealth was transferred to two holding vehicles named Atle and Bure. Both vehicles were subsequently listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. On October 4, 1983, an anti-employee funds demonstration in Stockholm gathered between 80,000 and 100,000 participants. It was the largest political protest ever to take place in Sweden.
Subsequent Social Democrat victories, such as the one in 1994, did not lead to their reintroduction, as leading members of the party found the whole debate surrounding these funds a problem for the party. Famously, Minister of Finance Kjell-Olof Feldt was captured on camera while scribbling negative words about the funds in his bench in Parliament already when they were introduced.
- Lewin, Leif (1988). Ideology and Strategy: A Century of Swedish Politics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 294–295. ISBN 978-0-521-34330-5.
- Arvidsson, Claes (October 4, 2008). "Med LO:s fonder hade det blivit andra bullar". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish).