Swedish Unions Intensify Blockade Against Tesla

Tesla does not manufacture any cars in Sweden but operates several facilities where the vehicles are serviced. Despite this, the Tesla Model Y has been the top-selling new car in Sweden this year, with over 14,000 registrations through October, according to Mobility Sweden, an industry group.

At the beginning of the mechanics’ strike, a Tesla representative informed Swedish media that the company abided by labor laws in the country and chose not to sign a collective agreement. The company stated its intention to do what it could to keep its business running.

The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union, representing members who work at Sweden’s docks, emphasized the importance of standing up for the collective agreement and the Swedish labor market model.

In late October, IF Metall, which represents 300,000 workers in Sweden, including some of Tesla’s mechanics, stated that discussions with company representatives had ended without a resolution. The union initiated strike action at Tesla’s 12 service centers on Oct. 27.

Dockworkers initially refused to unload any Teslas at four major Swedish ports starting on Nov. 7, which later expanded to 55 ports.

Unions representing cleaners also declined to service Tesla facilities, and the postal workers’ union halted deliveries to the company’s sites.

Both IF Metall and the Transport Workers’ Union admitted that Tesla had found ways to work around the strikes, including bringing in other mechanics to staff its facilities and transporting new vehicles into Sweden by truck.

The strike efforts were hindered by some union members who worked for Tesla and refused to participate, according to reports in Swedish media.

In Germany, where Tesla manufactures the Model Y at a gigafactory outside Berlin, union leaders have been working to organize approximately 11,500 employees. Tesla’s leadership has not engaged with the German autoworkers’ union, IG Metall. Last month, several hundred workers wore union stickers advocating for “safe and fair work.”

Dirk Schulze, the regional head of IG Metall in Brandenburg, where Tesla has its factory, expressed solidarity with the striking workers in Sweden. He stated that the strike in Sweden had given workers in Germany “the courage and confidence to organize themselves into a union and take their fate into their own hands.”

The union has not announced any further measures.

This week, IF Metall announced that 50 of its members at Hydro Extrusions, a company that produces an aluminum component for Tesla, would go on strike next Friday.

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