Union contradicts Elon Musk, stating Tesla strike in Sweden persists

Union contradicts Elon Musk, stating Tesla strike in Sweden persists

Summary:
The ongoing strike by Tesla mechanics in Sweden attracts investor attention and disrupts operations. IF Metall remains at odds with Tesla regarding a collective agreement, affecting Nordic investors and Tesla's operations in the region.

The prolonged labor dispute involving Tesla mechanics in Sweden persists, making it one of the country's lengthiest. Despite Elon Musk's assertion that the situation has resolved, the union stated on Wednesday that operations remain disrupted, prompting investor scrutiny.

Since October, Tesla has faced mounting pressure in the Nordics, with solidarity actions supporting Swedish IF Metall's mechanics' call for a collective agreement.

Postal workers, waste management personnel, repair facilities, port laborers, electricians, and janitorial staff are among the groups who have declined to engage in Tesla-related tasks. This has compelled the company to seek alternative methods to sustain its operations.

"I believe the situation has calmed down in that regard," remarked Musk, known for his vocal stance against unions, during a live chat on his social media platform X. "I think the situation in Sweden is relatively stable."

Although the U.S. carmaker does not have manufacturing operations in Sweden, it relies on over 120 mechanics in the country to service its electric vehicles.

IF Metall says it remains in dispute with Tesla.

"The strike in Sweden continues unabated; our members are still on strike," stated IF Metall spokesperson Jesper Pettersson to Reuters. He further noted that the union was contemplating escalating their actions.

"(Tesla) may try to portray a facade of business as usual, but both they and we know that's not entirely accurate."

Tesla did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Previously, it has stated that its Swedish employees enjoy terms that are as good as, if not better than, those demanded by the union.

INVESTOR PRESSURE 

Musk's comment on Monday came in response to a question from the CEO of Norway's $1.6 trillion wealth fund, which owns 1% of Tesla's stock and is its eighth-largest investor, LSEG data shows.

The fund also raised the issue with Tesla chair Robyn Denholm in March, it told Reuters.

In 2022, the fund supported a shareholder proposal urging Tesla to implement a policy regarding the respect for rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. "We will persist in monitoring and enforcing our expectations," stated a spokesperson for the fund.

In December, a group of Nordic pension funds and other investors communicated their concerns to Tesla through a letter. PensionDanmark, one of the funds involved, opted to divest its shares in Tesla due to the issue.

The ethics oversight body for four of Sweden's state pension funds, collectively holding a Tesla stake valued at 314 million euros as of the end of 2023, disclosed this week that it has engaged in discussions with the automaker regarding the ongoing strike.

Jenny Gustafsson, the head of the AP Funds' Council on Ethics, informed Reuters that they had emphasized to Tesla the effectiveness of the Swedish model of collective bargaining, which is renowned for providing stability and predictability in the Swedish labor market.

DISRUPTING OPERATIONS

In the first quarter of 2024, Tesla's Model Y retained its position as the top-selling car in Sweden. However, the company's total registrations in the country decreased by approximately 8% year-on-year during the January-March period, according to data from industry association Mobility Sweden. This decline aligns closely with the overall market trend.

One union supporting IF Metall's strike said Tesla's operations had still been affected.

Elin Lornbo of the Transport Workers' Union highlighted, "They've had to adapt their car importation methods into Sweden, and Tesla staff now find themselves responsible for managing waste and garbage at the workshops." The union's blockade is preventing the company from shipping cars to Sweden.

According to the transport union, Tesla is suspected of circumventing the blockade by transporting cars via trucks or trains.

This article is excerpted from economictimes.
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