Swedish Tesla workers to strike over union demands

Tesla owners in Sweden could soon face problems getting their cars serviced if mechanics follow through with a threatened strike to get a collective wage agreement.

Tesla mechanics in Sweden will walk off the job on October 27 unless the electric carmaker agrees to sign a collective wage agreement, the metalworkers union IF Metall said Wednesday.

“Over a long period of time, we have attempted to discuss with Tesla the signing of a collective agreement, without success. Now we see no solution other than to take industrial action,” the union said in a statement.

The strike would affect Tesla’s 120 mechanics at seven workshops across Sweden, IF Metall spokesman Jesper Pettersson told AFP.

He said “many” of Tesla’s workers in Sweden were members of IF Metall, but would not disclose an exact number.

Despite being union members, they cannot benefit from industry-wide collective bargaining agreements.

Negotiated by sector-by-sector, collective agreements are the basis of the Swedish labor market model, covering almost 90 percent of all Swedish employees and guaranteeing standard wages and working conditions.

“This conflict is about our members’ wages, pensions and insurances. And in the end it is about the playing rules on the Swedish labor market,” said the head of IF Metall’s collective agreements, Veli-Pekka Saikkala.

IF Metall, which has some 300,000 members, said the agreements also allow for companies “to operate on a level playing field, while avoiding the risk of any one employer distorting competition in the sector by imposing poor conditions on their employees.”

Tesla has yet to comment on the strike call.

Its founder and chief Elon Musk has consistently rejected calls to allow Tesla’s 127,000 employees worldwide to unionize.

“Even though we have called for industrial action, it is our sincere hope that Tesla will begin to negotiate and sign a collective agreement for their employees in Sweden,” IF Metall said.

© 2023 AFP

Swedish Tesla workers to strike over union demands (2023, October 18)
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