in Sweden, bonuses paid to executives arouse anger in the country

The CEO of Attendo, number one in elderly care in the Nordic countries, eventually gave in. Thursday, May 6, Martin Tivéus announced that he was waiving his generous bonus of 1.9 million crowns (187,000 euros). He plans to donate the money to the employee development fund. “It is a personal decision that I take, given the fact that as CEO of this company, in the current debate, I become a symbol of greed, which I am not”, did he declare.

A few hours earlier, the group presented a dismal balance sheet for the first quarter. Attendo’s losses reached 10 million crowns, against a surplus of 4 million in the first quarter of 2020. The cause: the 10% drop in the occupancy rate of its nursing homes.

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In Sweden, as elsewhere in Europe, residents of retirement homes have paid a very heavy price for the pandemic: 5,526 of them have died since March 2020, which represents 40% of victims linked to Covid-19. The Health and Care Inspectorate (IVO) has already concluded that there were very serious shortcomings in these establishments: employees have long lacked protective equipment, health protocols have not been followed, some sick residents have not seen doctors …

Another provocation

Attendo’s decision to pay bonuses to its leaders was seen as yet another provocation in this context, while the debate has raged in Sweden for years over the question of the profits made by private groups present in sectors financed by the taxpayer. However, in 2020, Attendo received 133 million crowns of state aid to deal with the pandemic.

The revelations of the newspaper Aftonbladet were all the more shocked because they intervened the day after the broadcast of a very long report on the public channel P1, denouncing the serious dysfunctions in one of the group’s nursing homes in Stockholm. Several employees tell how the management refused to apply the directives of the health authorities, which asked to separate sick patients from others, to limit contamination.

Lack of staff

On its website, the retirement home says that the health protocol has been respected. But, in fact, due to a lack of personnel, the residents were mixed up, without the families being informed. And the virus spread at top speed, killing several people and sickening many people. In the fall of 2020, an employee testified in a Swedish newspaper. A few days later, she was summoned by her bosses, who criticized her for being “Unfair” and threatened her with dismissal.

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