It started as a strike by 130 mechanics affiliated with the Swedish union IF Metall. Now, the blockade is likely to intensify as other workers unite against Tesla.
From 17 November, cleaners and electricians will go on strike, along with dockworkers who will refuse to unload Tesla cargo at all Swedish ports, and salespeople who will refuse to handle the electric cars.
The mechanics are demanding a collective bargaining agreement with the US giant, which is refusing to cooperate. Sweden doesn’t have laws that set working agreements – everything is dictated by collective agreements.
Jesper Pettersson, a spokesperson for IF Metall, said: “We want Tesla Sweden to sign a collective agreement… We want this conflict to be as brief and short as possible.”
Mikael Pettersson, head of negotiations at the electricians’ union, added: “Fighting for the Swedish model becomes even more crucial when it involves such a large company as Tesla.”
Jimmy Åsberg, president of the dockworkers’ branch of Sweden’s transport union and works at Gävle port concluded: “We don’t want to unload any Tesla cars. We are going to allow every other car [to dock], but the Tesla cars, they will stay on the ship.”
Even Stefan Löfven, Sweden’s former prime minster, added his weight to the conflict, saying he’ll refuse to take a ride in a Tesla taxi. He said: “It should be obvious for a company to follow the customs that exist in the countries where it operates, but it looks like Tesla has planned to ignore the Swedish labour market model.”