comment Expresses the writer’s opinions.
I love driving a Tesla Model 3. It provides an amazing experience with 20-30 miles a week on the road. But the recent Tesla strike in Sweden gives a new, ugly feeling to driving a car that is somewhat… um… unethical.
The Tesla strike in Sweden began on October 27 with 120 employees participating in Tesla’s own workshops.
On November 3, 470 more mechanics joined the action when they refused to fix Tesla cars.
On Tuesday, November 7, dock workers at the country’s four largest ports began their action, refusing to unload Tesla cars. This may just be the beginning, a well organized labor side can practically stop most things, especially when public opinion is with them.
Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions on the Tesla strike: – We are studying measures
Elon Musk is a vocal opponent of unions. But in Scandinavia, the high degree of organization has been a success for both employers and employees. This has resulted in stable framework conditions, few strikes, and little disruption.
Employers in the Nordic countries favor collective agreements and centralized wage formation. Then competitors who get rid of wages will flee, because collective agreements make it impossible to get rid of wages.
Elon Musk therefore refuses to enter into the collective agreement agreed to by all other car manufacturers and importers in Sweden.
When an employer rarely says no to a collective agreement in Scandinavia, the answer is a strike.
Tesla strike intensifies: – No Tesla cars on Swedish soil
You will never give up
If IF Metall (the Swedish answer to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions) had a strong strike fund, the entire trade union movement supported them and they would never give up.
Elon Musk is not the traditional “union buster” or “fagforeningknuser” in Norwegian. It is something new and unknown here in Scandinavia, it is the “Ghost of the Union”.
For five years, Tesla pretended that IF Metall didn’t exist. The powerful union demanded a collective agreement and was simply ignored. Then they had enough and announced a strike.
For Elon Musk, the rising costs of the collective agreement for Swedish technicians would be a drop in the ocean. But perhaps it is of as much principled importance to him as it is to the Swedish trade union movement?
Tesla, which has 120,000 employees worldwide, does not have any collective bargaining agreements in any country. In Germany, the director entered IG Metall, the world’s most powerful labor union, is vehemently opposed to Tesla. Tesla then tried to prevent the 12,000 workers who made the Model Y at Gruenheide from unionizing.
The last word has barely been said in the relationship between German IG Metall and Elon Musk.
Reminiscent of Uber’s struggle
“Tesla’s biggest union fight is happening in Europe. Is the US next?” The title reads i Quartz Business Newspaper.
Recently, there was a major strike in the American auto industry, which ended with a wage increase for 40,000 workers General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. On the other hand, Tesla escaped cost increases imposed by competitors because they did not have labor unions.
GM and Ford clearly have every interest in organizing Tesla workers as well. This situation could lead to the emergence of new and interesting political alliances on the other side of the Atlantic.
Ellen Orgasatter is a lecturer in Human Resources and Working Life at Christiania University College and has written a number of books on personnel management and employment law. She has previously written for Aftenposten, Morgenbladet and E24. Ørjasæter is active as a speaker and has appeared on a number of programs on NRK and TV2, as well as on debate programmes, news programs as well as on reality and entertainment programmes. Ørjasæter is a member of Larvik Senterparti, and is ranked 11th on the party’s electoral list in the run-up to the 2023 municipal elections.
There are elements in Tesla’s resistance to tariffs that are reminiscent of Uber’s fight against the national labor law in a number of countries. Uber is filing lawsuit after lawsuit to ensure that drivers are self-employed and not employees. Uber has all the advantages of the fact that drivers are not covered by labor protection legislation and can’t strike either (you can’t do that as a self-employed person).
The similarity with Tesla is this: a new player revolutionizing the industry. But on the way there, they deal with existing legislation and collective agreements. They can choose to agree or continue fighting.
Both Uber and Tesla are fighting against what exists. For Uber, the battle is currently against new legislative proposals in the European Union, and for Tesla the battle is against international trade unions.
Clash of the Titans
“Elon Musk’s business model is to not respect human rights,” he said. Atlee Hoyleader of the umbrella organization IndustriALL, which represents 50 million industrial workers in more than one hundred countries.
Atle Hoy comes from the Norwegian Federation and continues: “We have to resist Tesla’s business model, and Sweden is the best place to start.”
This is the battle of the titans: a united global union movement against Elon Musk.
Tesla might want to go on strike after strike in Europe to oppose the demand for collective agreements? How does Uber file one lawsuit after another and push to change legislation?
One thing is certain in our sister country, Sweden: For both sides in the Tesla conflict, there is much more at stake than these 120 Tesla technicians getting their collective approval.
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