Tesla and IF Metall’s battle in Sweden is reaching dangerous levels as the automaker reports that employees have received threats on social media. Tesla is now prioritizing the safety of employees while the IF Metall strike continues.
Jönköpings-Posten (JP) recently visited Tesla’s new facility in Hedenstorp and talked with a representative from the Texas-based automaker.
“It is a sensitive situation. There have been threats on social media, and we want to protect the safety of the employees in this situation; our highest priority is their security,” the Tesla representative told JP.
During its visit to Tesla’s Hedenstorp facility, JP was not permitted to take photos of workers or ask them questions about the IF Metall strike. Tesla also forbids JP from publishing any worker’s names. JP was directed to Tesla’s written statement regarding any questions about the IF Metall strike.
The answer to how many workers are actually on strike has been elusive. Tesla claims 90% of its employees are still working because it is counting all its workers in Sweden. Indeed, many Tesla employees have chosen not to join the IF Metalls strike; even the union’s contract secretary, Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, has alluded to it.
IF Metall’s numbers are a little more nuanced. The union only counts Tesla workers within its contractural area, meaning those who are members of IF Metalls. In addition, white-collar workers are not included among its members. The union states that half of Tesla’s mechanics are members of IF Metall, and not all of them had joined the strike.
IF Metall’s board will assess each Tesla union member who has not joined the strike. Some of them may be excluded from the union. Veli-Pekka shared listed several reasons workers might not join the strike.
“There are migration cases, people from third countries afraid of their residence permit. Some people are on probation and fear for their employment. There are also EU citizens who want to build a life in Sweden and fear that they will have to move from Sweden again. Some are afraid of what happens after the conflict. You have heard from other countries about trade unions fired at Tesla.”