• Business Business

Tesla battling increased support in country’s strike against automaker: ‘You can’t just make your own rules’

Other workers have joined the strike, including postal workers who refused to deliver Tesla plates for new cars.

Other workers have joined the strike, including postal workers who refused to deliver Tesla plates for new cars.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Despite a recent win in court, Tesla’s troubles in Sweden continue to grow as more and more workers join the strike against the EV giant. 

IF Metall, a trade union in Sweden, gave Tesla a strike notice in October that hundreds of mechanics from the company’s seven workshops in the country would strike if Tesla didn’t sign a collective agreement. 

Tesla first opened up shop in Sweden in 2013, but the company has declined to sign any sort of collective agreement in the highly unionized country because the company doesn’t have a manufacturing plant there. 

But unions are a major part of the Swedish labor model. Roughly 90% of the workforce is covered by collective agreements that protect worker conditions and standardize pay, insurance, and pensions. Because of this, other workers have joined the strike, including postal workers who refused to deliver Tesla plates for new cars. 

Tesla quickly won a lawsuit against the Swedish transport authority and state-run PostNord, in which a court ruled that the transport authority had to figure out how to get the plates to Tesla. But that was just a minor victory among a growing problem as more workers are joining the IF Metall strike against Tesla.

Around 50 workers at Hydro Extrusions in Vetlanda, Sweden, have joined in a sympathy strike, though the company is not directly involved in the strike. Hydro Extrusions is responsible for delivering components for the Model Y to a factory in Berlin, Germany.

The troubles for Tesla have even poured over into neighboring Denmark, where the country’s largest trade union has joined the strike. This will prevent dock workers and drivers in Denmark from receiving and transporting Tesla vehicles going to Sweden. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has called secondary action against the company like the PostNord strike “insane,” but those representing the workers don’t appear to be backing down.

“If you look at this from a long-term perspective, it could be a threat to the Swedish model,” head of the IF Metall union Marie Nilsson said. “It’s really important for us.”

Jan Villadsen, chair of 3F Transport, the Danish union that joined the strike in solidarity with IF Metall, said, “Even if you are one of the richest in the world, you can’t just make your own rules. We have some labor market agreements in the Nordic region, and you have to comply with them if you want to run a business here.”

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider