Amidst the contrasting narratives surrounding the ongoing strike against Tesla in Sweden, there is one group that has mostly remained silent — Tesla’s employees themselves. And if a recent post from what appears to be a Tesla employee is any indication, it would appear that the company’s workers are getting quite exasperated with the union’s ongoing strikes.
There are mostly two contrasting arguments in the escalating conflict between Tesla Sweden and IF Metall. The union claims that it is fighting to secure a collective agreement with Tesla for the sake of the company’s workers. Tesla, on the other hand, has claimed that it already offers “equivalent or better agreements than those covered by collective bargaining.”
An opinion piece published in Nerikes Allehanda (NA), a daily newspaper in Sweden, suggested that Tesla employees are getting frustrated because nobody seems to be listening to the people who are actually working for the electric vehicle maker. The piece’s author clarified that Tesla workers are afraid, not of the electric vehicle maker, but of the union.
Following is a translation of the Tesla employee’s opinion piece (translated using Google Translate).
“Why is nobody listening to us who work at Tesla? You read that 130 car mechanics have gone on strike. The fact is that no one in Örebro has gone on strike at all.
“Are we afraid? Absolutely not for our employer. Are we afraid of IF Metall? Yes, we are afraid of the union. I have received threats of dismissal from A-kassa. They have written that I am a traitor who does not stand up for my colleagues, etc.
“I enjoy my job. In fact, Tesla is the best employer I have ever had. I used to work at another workshop that had a collective agreement, where we were much worse off, which is why I chose Tesla.
“I chose Tesla because I want to be part of and contribute to a greener transition. Tesla is the car company that is responsible for the largest part of the green transition in Sweden, and I’m proud of it.
“Why does IF Metall continue to threaten us all the time just because we democratically choose not to have a collective agreement? It is actually us service technicians (not car mechanics) who do not want a collective agreement.
“The union threatens not to clean our facilities. Are we then to work in dirt and misery? Is it IF Metall’s agenda to make sure we feel bad at work? If Metall and their LO chairman, who thinks it is better that we are unemployed than that we are better off without a collective agreement.
“Let us 137 service technicians vote on a collective agreement instead. Let democracy have its way. Is it the case that democracy does not exist in Sweden and in the trade unions anymore?”
The battle between Tesla Sweden and IF Metall does not seem to be approaching its end yet. Just recently, IF Metall noted that it was looking to stop vehicle production at Giga Berlin, since a Swedish company that produces aluminum profiles for the Model Ys in the plant has become involved in a sympathy strike and blockade. Since the profiles are crucial for the Model Y’s crash safety, the production of the vehicle would get disrupted once the sympathy strike’s effects become evident.
IF Metall strike general Veli-Pekka Säikkälä described the strategy. “There will be serious disruptions in production, and that is of course the aim… Without that detail, you cannot deliver the car… There is a very high risk that there will be serious disruptions in production, and that is, of course, the purpose for us to get Tesla to sign a collective agreement,” he said.
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