Tesla workers strike in Sweden over union demands

About 130 mechanics walk out after company refuses to sign collective wage agreement

Mechanics at seven of the electric car company Tesla's workshops in Sweden have walked out. Reuters
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Tesla mechanics in Sweden walked off the job on Friday to protest against the electric carmaker's refusal to sign a collective wage agreement, the metalworkers union said.

The strike affects around Tesla's 130 mechanics at seven workshops across Sweden, IF Metall union spokesman Jesper Pettersson said.

Mr Pettersson said Tesla employees had “lower wages, don't have the same insurances, and have lower pensions” than other industry workers.

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

IF Metall, which has some 300,000 members, said the agreements also allow for companies “to operate on a level playing field”.

“Many” of Tesla's workers in Sweden are members of IF Metall, Pettersson said, but would not disclose an exact number.

Despite being union members, they cannot benefit from industrywide collective bargaining agreements.

Mr Pettersson said Tesla informed them on Tuesday that it would not sign a collective bargaining agreement. He added that the carmaker told the union they “don't do that anywhere in the world”.

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

Tesla strikers in Sweden were being paid compensation by the union equivalent to their wages, Mr Pettersson said.

He said that unless Tesla changed its position, IF Metall would widen its strike on November 3 to cover all workshop repairs on Tesla cars across Sweden, not just those done by Tesla employees.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 2:02 PM