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Swedish Unions Intensify Blockade Against Tesla

While 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 the country this year, with over 14,000 registrations through October, according to Mobility Sweden, an industry group.

At the start of the mechanics’ strike, a Tesla representative informed Swedish media that the company adheres to labor laws in the country and made the choice not to sign a collective agreement. Tesla stated that it would take necessary measures to ensure its business operations continue.

The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union, whose members are employed at Sweden’s docks, emphasized in a statement the importance of standing up for the collective agreement and the Swedish labor market model: “It is both important and obvious that we help.”

At the end of October, IF Metall, representing 300,000 workers in Sweden, including some of Tesla’s mechanics, declared that talks with company representatives had reached an impasse. The union commenced strike action at Tesla’s 12 service centers on October 27.

Initially, dockworkers refused to unload any Teslas at four major Swedish ports starting on November 7, which was later expanded to 55 ports on Friday.

Unions representing cleaners have also declined to service Tesla facilities, and the postal workers’ union ceased all deliveries to 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 has appeared to bring in alternative mechanics to staff its facilities and transport new vehicles into Sweden by truck, according to their statements.

The strike efforts have also faced resistance from some union members working for Tesla who refused to participate, as reported by Swedish media.

In Germany, where Tesla produces the Model Y at a gigafactory outside Berlin, union leaders have been working towards organizing the approximately 11,500 employees there. Tesla’s leadership has not engaged with the German autoworkers’ union, IG Metall. Last month, several hundred workers wore union stickers calling for “safe and fair work.”

Dirk Schulze, the regional head of IG Metall in Brandenburg, where Tesla has its factory, has expressed his 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 measures.

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

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