Tesla faces strike in Sweden
The mechanics employed by Tesla in Sweden are organized in the IF Metall union. After their employer rejected their demand for collective agreements, they went on strike on October 27. According to Reuters, they are now being supported by port workers.
They are said to have joined the mechanics’ strike on November 7, blocking the four largest Swedish ports for Tesla cars. The action was extended to all ports last Friday. Reuters quotes a spokesman for the Transport union (which organizes the dock workers) as saying that the Swedish ports often receive one to three deliveries of Tesla cars per week. Not a single delivery is said to have been made since the strike began.
Tesla is known to avoid collective agreements. In the USA and Germany – Tesla’s current production nations – there are none. Should this change as a result of the protest in Sweden, it could possibly set a precedent that would have an impact in other countries.
Marie Nilsson, head of IF Metall, told Reuters that the union had received indications at the beginning of the dispute that Tesla was using strike-breaking tactics by flying in workers from other countries. But the union wants to counter this: According to Nilsson, IF Metall has no intention of ending the strike any time soon. “As long as it is needed,” she said.
Update 27 November 2023
The strikes against Tesla in Sweden have been extended and are now also affecting supplies to the German Tesla plant. Around 50 workers at Hydro Extrusions, a subsidiary of Norwegian aluminium company Hydro, who make components for Tesla electric cars manufactured in Grünheide, joined the strikes last Friday, Reuters writes, citing information from the IF Metall union.
“They supply components to Tesla’s factory in Berlin, and if this causes disruption, we hope to force them back to the negotiating table,” Veli-Pekka Saikkala is quoted as saying by the union. Hydro Extrusions is the only supplier of components in Europe.
Update 29 November 2023
The strikes against Tesla in Sweden triggered by the IF Metall trade union are becoming increasingly bizarre. It is now also about the issue of license plates.
After the Swedish postal union refused to transport license plates for new Tesla registrations, Tesla filed lawsuits in two district courts against the Swedish Transport Administration and the postal company PostNord. As the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports, the Norrköping District Court granted Tesla’s application. The traffic authority must give its consent for Tesla to collect the license plates directly from the manufacturer of the plates.
Meanwhile, the Solna District Court initially rejected Tesla’s request that 28 license plates already held by PostNord be handed over to Tesla. The last word has not yet been spoken.
Update 06 December 2023
The strikes against Tesla in Sweden triggered by the IF Metall trade union have spread to Denmark. The largest Danish trade union, 3F, is showing solidarity with its Swedish colleagues and has announced that port workers and freight forwarders will no longer unload Tesla cars or transport them to Sweden.
In Sweden, around 90 per cent of employees are covered by a collective agreement, in Denmark it is 80 per cent – the influence of the unions is correspondingly high. Elon Musk is not exactly a friend of trade unions or unionized workers in his factories.
Update 07 December 2023
The calls for Tesla to sign collective agreements are becoming ever louder in Scandinavia and are accompanied by great solidarity from the trade unions – now also from Norway. Specifically, the Norwegian trade union Fellesforbundet now wants to send a “clear signal to Tesla” and ensure that all vehicle deliveries to Sweden via Norway are blocked. The Norwegian union’s measures are set to begin on December 20. However, the Norwegian and Danish unions emphasize that their measures only affect Teslas destined for the Swedish market – so far.