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Swedish Unions Intensify Blockade Against Tesla

Although Tesla does not manufacture vehicles in Sweden, it operates several facilities for car servicing. The Tesla Model Y has been the best-selling new car in Sweden this year, with over 14,000 registrations through October, according to Mobility Sweden, an industry group.

At the beginning of the mechanics’ strike, a Tesla representative informed Swedish media that the company complied with labor laws in the country and made the decision not to sign a collective agreement. The company stated that it would take necessary actions to keep its business running.

The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union, whose members are employed at Sweden’s docks, stated that “it is both important and obvious that we help, to stand up for the collective agreement and the Swedish labor market model.”

At the end of October, IF Metall, representing 300,000 workers in Sweden, including some of Tesla’s mechanics, announced the breakdown of discussions with company representatives. The union initiated strike action at Tesla’s 12 service centers on Oct. 27.

Initially, dockworkers refused to unload Teslas at four major Swedish ports starting on Nov. 7, which then expanded to 55 ports on Friday.

Unions representing cleaners also refused to service Tesla facilities, and the postal workers’ union halted any deliveries to the company’s sites.

Both IF Metall and the Transport Workers’ Union admitted that Tesla had found ways to work around the strikes, including bringing in other mechanics to staff its facilities and delivering new vehicles into Sweden by truck.

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

In Germany, where Tesla manufactures the Model Y at a gigafactory outside Berlin, union leaders have aimed to organize the approximately 11,500 employees working there. The German autoworkers’ union, IG Metall, has not engaged with Tesla’s management. 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’s factory is located, 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 said in a statement.

The union has not announced any further measures.

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

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