As part of a solidarity action that began on 7 November, the Swedish Transport Workers' Union stopped offloading Tesla cars at four of the country's main ports. A complete blockade of the loading and offloading of Tesla cars in all Swedish ports could come into effect on 17 November.
The Electrical Workers' Union is joining the solidarity action; as of 17 November, its members will not provide any service for the brand at Tesla's 12 workshops or 213 charging stations in Sweden.
The Real Estate Workers' Union has announced a blockade as of 17 November and will not clean Tesla’s four workplaces.
The latest union to join the action against Tesla is the Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees, SEKO, who will stop delivering post and parcels to Tesla, saying in a statement that “IF Metall’s fight is important for the Swedish model of collective bargaining.”
Support is now coming from Norway. Norwegian union Fellesforbundet warns it will block Swedish Teslas coming to Norway.
IF Metall has been trying to negotiate a collective agreement for its members who service and repair Tesla vehicles at TM Sweden AB for years. Despite the union's efforts, Tesla is refusing to sign an agreement, saying that it does not fit the company's business model.
When negotiations stalled, IF Metall launched industrial action on 27 October in 12 Tesla-owned garages, subsequently adding another 20 that also service Tesla cars. A brief return to the negotiating table on 1 November yielded nothing, and IF Metall reports of Tesla using strike breakers to ensure business as usual.
Says IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Atle Høie:
“The Swedish model where employers and unions engage in social dialogue has brought a stable labour market where everyone benefits, and which serves as an example to many countries around the world. Tesla's irrational dislike for unions does not make him exempt from the rules and IndustriALL strongly supports IF Metall and the other Swedish unions taking action.”
Isabelle Barthès, Acting Joint General Secretary of industriAll Europe, says:
“We assure our Swedish colleagues of our unwavering support as they take on Tesla to fight for their right to collective bargaining and, simply put, to defend their model of industrial relations.”
Good industrial jobs in the transformation
But this confrontation goes beyond defending workers’ and trade union rights in a single company, in a single country.
As Europe rightly supports clean technologies such as electric mobility and new, emerging industries such as battery production, it is vital that such investments lead to good industrial jobs. No public support should be given to companies that undermine social standards and engage in union busting.
“This confrontation is part of a larger battle for an industrial transformation that is fair for workers and shaping Europe's industrial and industrial relations landscape for years to come, says Isabelle Barthès.
“Rest assured that Europe’s industrial workers are on the offensive for good industrial jobs, in Sweden and all across the continent."