Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) employees initiated a strike in late October when approximately 120 mechanics at 12 TSLA repair shops in seven cities across Sweden protested against TSLA’s refusal to endorse a collective bargaining agreement.
Continuing ripple effects were seen across various segments – from custodial and dock workers to postal employees and metalworkers. Sympathy strikes ensued, disrupting the company’s operations from unloading vehicles off boats and obtaining vehicle registration plates.
Sweden, boasting one of Europe’s most powerful labor movements, stands as the stinging backdrop. The strike is seen as a clash between the Swedish and American ways of doing business and a fight to protect the Swedish union model, covering about 90% of its workforce.
Employees and employers unanimously support this system. This universal approbation is warranted given that the Swedish labor relations model has maintained relative industrial tranquility between corporations and wage earners for decades.
TSLA, on the contrary, is known for opposing unionization in its workplaces and has a different corporate culture and vision. Elon Musk-led TSLA may have inadvertently chosen a contest difficult to win by retorting against this norm. What began as a localized dispute has now escalated to potentially considerable global implications.
Casting wider ripples, there are projections for the labor movements and automotive workers within Europe and extending to the U.S. Arturo Vasquez, an ombudsman in the IF Metall union – the largest in Sweden, has reportedly reached out to counterparts across Europe and the U.S. With this, he aims to gather support, possibly leading to similar moves in their respective domains.
According to car.info data, TSLA reportedly registered 1,516 new cars in November, representing a sales increase of 175.2% year-over-year. This performance is particularly noteworthy given the mounting efforts of IF Metall against the EV manufacturer.
Furthermore, TSLA aims to maintain a growth rate of 50%, with aspirations to sell 2.7 million vehicles by 2024. The automaker plans to augment its production capacity across Fremont, Shanghai, Berlin, and Texas facilities. Additionally, the company aims to enhance its product range and features, including introducing new models – like Model 3 Highland and Model S Plaid, with Cybertruck recently added to the lineup.
However, with no signs of an impending agreement between TSLA and IF Metall, the ongoing strike could disrupt TSLA’s ambitious objectives. In September, EVs constituted a 63.4% market share in Sweden, an increase from last year’s 55.2%. TSLA’s Model Y was the top-selling vehicle in Sweden year-to-date, underscoring its dominant stance.
The strike could compromise TSLA’s market share and customer loyalty in Sweden and other Nordic countries, where the brand has a substantial presence and exciting demand prospects. It could impact the delivery and service of TSLA vehicles, thus potentially undermining the brand’s reputation in the region.
TSLA recently filed a lawsuit against the Swedish state via Sweden’s Transport Agency due to a strike by postal workers that halted delivery of license plates for the automaker’s new vehicles, creating additional regulatory hurdles. The company could face fines, sanctions, or injunctions, which could dent the company’s…
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