The union movement can defeat Elon Musk-Dagsavisen

The union movement can defeat Elon Musk-Dagsavisen

Elon Musk is a physicist, engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and visionary – known for companies like Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and most recently Twitter (X). Musk never calmed down, and there was a lot of noise around and around him. Now Tesla in Sweden is the starting point for a very important struggle for the union movement, and obviously also for Musk.

The story of Tesla is the story of the car factory that changed the entire industry. Tesla Motors was founded in California in 2003 by two engineers who wanted to develop an electric sports car. In 2004, Elon Musk joined the company. Four years later, production of the Tesla Roadster began. Musk announced that the next major goal is to create a spacious passenger car, known as the Model S.

The Tesla Model S was launched in the USA in 2012, and quickly became a hit in Norway. Aided by generous state subsidy schemes for purchasing electric cars, the Tesla Model S became the best-selling car among all new cars in Norway for two months of the year in 2013. Tesla also became big in many other countries, and the Model S quickly became The best-selling electric car in the world.

Tesla still holds a special place — even after all the other automakers have made their massive investments in electric vehicles, and even after new Chinese automakers have come full circle. In September, 2,500 new Tesla cars were sold in Norway – this represents 24 percent of new car sales, and Tesla is by far the best-selling new car in Norway in the fall of 2023.

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background: Tobias (25 years old) takes on Elon Musk

The Nordic market is small in the global context, but nevertheless important due to good purchasing power, generous government support schemes and good infrastructure for electric vehicles. Since the end of October, Tesla has been in conflict with its employees in Sweden, and last week the conflict spread to the rest of the Nordic region. The Swedish trade union IF Metall is demanding a collective agreement for its members at Tesla, which is completely out of the question for Tesla management – at least for Elon Musk.

Musk has commented lightly on the ongoing conflict in Sweden. However, he commented the following during a post on his social media handle, X, under a post about Posten not delivering registration plates to Tesla because Swedish trade union Seko blocked mail going to Tesla in Sweden:

– It’s crazy, Elon Musk wrote in the comments section.

Incidentally, he emphasized his hostility to labor unions while being questioned on stage during an event sponsored by The New York Times:

– I do not agree with the idea of ​​unions. I don’t like them to create a kind of master and servant. This of course creates negativity in the company. We don’t have masters and servants, everyone eats at the same table and parks in the same parking lot,” Musk stated, according to the website.

Now he is being challenged by the Swedish trade union movement. In addition to the principled opposition to unions, there is also reason to believe that Musk fears it could spread to the United States if a collective agreement is signed in Sweden. After the victory achieved by American auto workers when they won their general strike last month, Musk will likely do what he can to prevent this optimism from spreading to Tesla factories.

The Nordic Society has defeated major opponents in the past. They have faith that they can do it again

Tesla has so far flatly refused to negotiate a collective agreement, but the measures are spreading, and now there have been statements of support from union comrades in Norway, Denmark and Finland. Nordic union comrades stand united against Musk and Tesla. In Sweden, they have enough members to fight the battle for a collective agreement openly. FriFagbevegelse wrote in November that there are no open union members at Tesla in Norway — but there are unidentified union members working at Tesla in that country as well. This week, the leader of Fellesforbundet, Jørn Eggum, came out in full support of the strikers in the neighboring country:

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– Our union comrades at IF Metall have the full support of the union in the struggle with Tesla. They take up the struggle against an anti-union corporation on behalf of all forms of working life. Now Tesla must immediately accept IF Metall’s request for a collective agreement. “If this is not done by December 20, we will continue to implement the county’s measures,” Eggum said.

The European trade union ETUC, which has 43 million members, decided on Thursday to stand behind a strike by Swedish Tesla workers. On the eve of the week, LO leader Peggy Hessen Følsvik also appeared on the scene demanding that the oil fund, as a major owner, use its ownership power and sell Tesla if the company stands firm in its opposition to collective agreements.

Basically, it’s a raw party for one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. But the Nordic community has defeated major opponents in the past. They have faith that they can do it again. If Tobias and the other strikers at Swedish Tesla succeed in forcing Elon Musk to his knees and gaining their collective approval, it will be one of the most dramatic victories for the Nordic union movement in many years.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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