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Swedish Unions Intensify Blockade Against Tesla

Even though Tesla does not manufacture any vehicles in Sweden, it operates several facilities for car servicing. The Tesla Model Y has been the best-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 complies with the country’s labor laws and has chosen not to sign a collective agreement. The company stated that it will do everything possible to keep its business running.

The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union, whose members are employed at Sweden’s ports, stated that “it is both important and obvious that we help, to stand up for the collective agreement and the Swedish labor market model.”

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

Initially, dockworkers refused to unload any Teslas at four major Swedish ports starting on Nov. 7, and on Friday, the blockade expanded to 55 ports.

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

Both IF Metall and the Transport Workers’ Union have acknowledged that Tesla has found ways to work around the strikes. Tesla seemed to be bringing in other mechanics to staff its facilities and bringing new vehicles into Sweden by truck, as reported by the unions.

The strike efforts have also been hampered by some union members working for Tesla who refused to join, according to Swedish media reports.

In Germany, where Tesla manufactures the Model Y at a gigafactory outside Berlin, union leaders have been endeavoring to organize the approximately 11,500 employees working there. Tesla’s management 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. The strike in Sweden has given workers in Germany “the courage and confidence to organize themselves into a union and take their fate into their own hands,” Mr. Schulze stated in a release.

The union has not announced any further actions.

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

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