Union chair who was prepared to drive Tesla out of Sweden to step down: report

Credit: Tesla Asia/Weibo

Back in November, Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) Chairperson Susanna Gideonsson was asked if the LO was prepared to escalate its battle against electric vehicle maker Tesla to the point where the company is driven out of Sweden. Gideonsson noted that while such a scenario would be unfortunate, it is not implausible.  

“Yes, if it goes that far. It’s sad, but we are (prepared),” the LO official said. 

LO is an umbrella organization that covers 14 unions in Sweden, one of which is IF Metall. Amidst IF Metall’s conflict with Tesla, several other unions within LO have initiated sympathy strikes against the electric vehicle maker. Gideonsson’s comments from November were then seen as a hardline stance against Tesla and the company’s refusal to sign a collective agreement

As per a report from Dagens Nyheter (DN), the LO Chairperson has decided to step down from her post in the spring. Interestingly enough, Gideonsson was reportedly expected to go for re-election in mid-May this year. Thus, the LO official’s decision to step down seems to indicate that she has changed her mind. 

In her interview with DN, Gideonsson admitted that 2023 had been a very difficult year personally, so it may be “time for me to invest in loved ones” and “get a normal life at home.” Such sentiments are understandable considering her long career in political and trade union work. 

It should also be noted that Gideonsson took the reins of the LO in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, and she was tasked with uniting an organization that was torn by differing views on a number of issues. When asked by the DN about what she is most satisfied with over her tenure as LO’s Chairperson, Gideonsson stated that she is proud of the union’s milestones during the pandemic. 

“I am happy that, together with employers and politicians, we have managed to maintain our system of collective agreements despite the EU’s requirements for minimum wages, and that we have been heard that climate change is also a trade union issue. It is about fairness, that it is not those who are worst off who have to pay the most,” Gideonsson said. 

In a way, a resolution of the conflict between Tesla and IF Metall may be a good way for Gideonsson to end her tenure as LO’s Chairperson on a high note. If the electric vehicle maker and the trade union’s conflict gets extended with neither side budging, however, Gideonsson may end up leaving her post at LO with some unfinished business. 

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Union chair who was prepared to drive Tesla out of Sweden to step down: report
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