Amidst the ongoing conflict between Tesla Sweden and trade union IF Metall, the electric vehicle maker’s employees are expressing their overall sentiments through an old-fashioned but effective strategy. As noted by Swedish newspaper Jönköpings-Posten (JP), some employees at Tesla’s facility in Hedentorp have placed a fairly large banner on a fence highlighting a simple but direct message — they are fine.
IF Metall’s protests against Tesla Sweden were triggered by the electric vehicle maker’s lack of a collective agreement. The trade union has argued that it would be able to fight for Tesla employees if the company had an agreement. Tesla Sweden, for its part, has argued that its workers are already compensated better than if they were unionized.
These sentiments seem to be the focus of the banner being used by Tesla Sweden’s employees. The banner, which features a cartoon version of the meme hedgehog used by Tesla in its vehicle ordering process, featured the words “Tack, det är bra,” which generally translates to “Thanks, it is good.” Through the banner, it appears that Tesla employees are highlighting the idea that they do not need a collective agreement at all.
Kängan i Tesla-strejken – banderoll protesterar mot konflikten— Anders Nyman (@Knytanders) January 21, 2024
Allt som skrivs om Teslastrejken är inte ensidigt vinklat utifrån vad facket påstår – och ibland svarar Tesla faktiskt på frågor från media. Jönköpings-Posten har varit på besök utanför Teslas anläggning i Hedentorp,…
In a comment to JP, Maria Lantz, communications manager at Tesla Sweden, noted that the banner was the idea of Tesla employees themselves, and it could be seen as a declaration of loyalty to the electric vehicle maker. She also reiterated the idea that over 90% of Tesla Sweden’s employees are not participating in IF Metall’s protests.
“The banner is also used during the conflict in other parts of the country. The employees took the initiative, and they also have similar vests. It’s completely driven by the employees at Tesla,” she said.
IF Metall Ombudsman Dan Axelsson, for his part, noted that he is skeptical about the idea that the banner was the idea of Tesla Sweden workers. Axelsson argued that he has different information, though he did not provide further details.
“If that’s true, the employees are fine, but not as good as they would be with a collective agreement,” he said.
Union strike guard Elin Mainhed also argued that the union is doing its protests for the sake of Tesla Sweden’s employees. “The employees may think that we should not remain here. But we feel that they may not understand the whole thing. We do not know what is said at their meetings, what information they receive from the employer. We do this for their sake, for their safety. Collective agreements are just a floor,” Mainhed stated.
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