American-made cars are no longer being unloaded at ports in Sweden as workers from various sectors have boycotted Tesla. The electric car manufacturer is facing a union in Germany and has been accused of extreme strain and serious deficiencies in safety at its Grunheide plant in Brandenburg. In addition, Tesla has been accused of trying to disrupt union organizing.
This conflict between Tesla and the Swedish workers is not just about salaries but also about basic principles. Tesla rejects collective agreements, which are considered a cornerstone in Sweden, covering 90 percent of employees. When the mechanics went on strike to force a collective agreement, the company tried to bring in strikebreakers from other countries, leading to a response by the union to spread the conflict to other industries.
The conflict with Toys “R” Us in 1995 serves as an example of this dispute. After three months of industrial action involving commercial workers and other unions, the company relented and signed a collective agreement. This situation is reminiscent of that with Toys “R” Us, which was extended to Sweden in 1995 and refused to conclude a collective agreement.
It is important for Swedish workers not to lose this fight against American billionaire Elon Musk as it sets a dangerous precedent for future labor disputes. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation’s Torbjörn Johansson stated that everyone who comes to Sweden must follow the rules. This includes Musk and his company, Tesla.