Tesla threatens to bring in strikebreakers as Swedish workers strike

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
Tesla threatens to bring in strikebreakers as Swedish workers strike
Tesla's Service Centre in Upplands Väsby. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Members of Sweden's IF Metall metalworkers' union working at Tesla service centres went on strike on Friday morning following a breakdown in negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement.


Around 90 percent of employees in Sweden are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and the metal workers' union, IF Metall, has long tried to negotiate one with Tesla without success.

The union wants Tesla to sign an agreement offering the same working conditions to Tesla's mechanics as those offered to mechanics at other companies.

The company is refusing to sign one, IF Metall has reported, saying that company claims that it doesn't sign collective bargaining agreements anywhere in the world.


Tesla's Nordic lead, Kim Jensen, said in an internal meeting that the company is considering employing strikebreakers, Dagens Arbete has reported.

"If they bring in strikebreakers then that's completely unique," IF Metall's bargaining agreement secretary, Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, told the newspaper. "That would be crossing all boundaries. That kind of thing happened in Sweden in the 1920s and 30s."

"If they start employing strikebreakers and actively try to break the strike, then they have mobilised the entire union movement against them. Not just the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, but all of them. Then the issue at hand becomes less important."

Tesla Sweden's head of communications, Maria Lantz, did not wish to comment when approached by the TT newswire.

Not all of the employees working at the affected service centres are IF Metall members and the union did not disclose how many of the workers were members, saying only that it was "a lot", and that more had joined in recent days.

If the union succeeds with its blockade, it could become more difficult for Tesla owners to get their cars serviced or repaired, despite the fact that some other workshops also service Tesla cars.


However, things could get worse if the union extends its strike.

IF Metall has given notice of its intention to extend the strike from November 3rd to apply to 20 further workshops, which would also put members there under a blockade, preventing them from carrying out any work on Tesla cars at all. This could also prevent owners of new cars from collecting them, as members would be barred from carrying out the work needed in order to register new cars.

There are no plans for new negotiations between the two parties.

"As recently as Tuesday, when we had our last meeting with Tesla, they made it clear that they have no intentions of signing a collective bargaining agreement with us," IF Metall's spokesperson, Jesper Pettersson, said. 

When asked how long strike measures were going to continue, he replied they would be in place "until we have a collective bargaining agreement in place".


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James 2023/10/27 14:30
With friends like Elon, who needs enemies?

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