Port workers join Tesla strike in Sweden

Port workers join Tesla strike in Sweden

Some 130 mechanics at 10 Tesla workshops in seven cities of across Sweden first stepped off the job on October 27
Some 130 mechanics at 10 Tesla workshops in seven cities of across Sweden first stepped off the job on October 27. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT / TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP/File
Source: AFP

Workers at four Swedish ports blocked the loading and unloading of Tesla cars Tuesday in a growing strike movement over the US company's refusal to sign a collective wage agreement with mechanics.

Some 130 mechanics at 10 Tesla workshops in seven cities of across Sweden first stepped off the job on October 27, according to trade union IF Metall.

On Friday, the strike was expanded to include some 470 more workers at another 17 facilities that service many brands of vehicles where a "blockade" on repairing Tesla cars had been put in place.

On Tuesday, the Swedish Transport Workers' union began a "sympathy measure" to support IF Metall by blocking the "loading and unloading of Tesla cars" at four Swedish ports in the cities Malmo, Sodertalje, Gothenburg, and Trelleborg.

It also announced that the sympathy strike would expand to include all ports on November 17.

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"There will be a total stop for Tesla cars in all Swedish ports," said union chief Tommy Wreeth.

"We have received signals that Tesla cars are planned for other Swedish harbours and we are now closing that possibility completely," Wreeth said.

The Swedish Building Maintenance Workers Union announced simultaneous actions for November 17, vowing to block all work related to Tesla at facilities in three Stockholm suburbs and the city of Umea in northern Sweden.

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

In late October, IF Metall -- which has some 300,000 members -- told AFP that "many" of Tesla's workers in Sweden are members of IF Metall, but would not disclose an exact number.

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According to IF Metall, Tesla had told them it would not sign a collective bargaining agreement, as that the carmaker argued they "don't do that anywhere in the world."

On Monday, the union said meetings with Tesla had resulted in a "stalemate" and accused Tesla of using systematically using strikebreakers to circumvent the strike.

Tesla founder and chief Elon Musk has consistently rejected calls to allow the company's 127,000 employees worldwide to unionise.

AFP has reached out to Tesla for comment but has not received a reply.

Swedish news agency TT reported Tuesday that impact of the strike was limited so far, as work continued on several of Tesla's service centres and shipments of Tesla cars had been re-routed in anticipation of the port strike.

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Source: AFP

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