Tesla Service workers demand better contractual conditions. Meanwhile, the workshops are closed waiting for the conflict to be resolved as soon as possible. Every company is dependent on its workers. Without them, they cannot operate, and if they do not operate, their viability falls rapidly. Strikes are the most feared labor movement by companies. When activity stops in one section of the company or all of it, it causes serious problems. Tesla Technical Service workers in Sweden have just started a strike to demand better working conditions. By itself, this is already a big headache for any company, but this stoppage in activity has been compounded by the refusal of the port’s stevedores to unload the containers.
In Europe, Tesla only produces the Performance version of the Tesla Model Y. The German plant has focused on that model which, although it is in good commercial health, is not capable of matching the sales of the rest of the units in the range. That means that Tesla Europe needs to import all cars, either from China or the United States. All these cars arrive by sea, so the dependence on port workers is absolute. If port stevedores do not unload container loads of vehicles, there are no deliveries to make. Last year, some Norwegian customers went on hunger strike due to failures in the deliveries of their cars.
Deliveries of the new Tesla Model 3 are in danger after the stoppage at the ports
If we look at the data, Sweden is one of the main markets for electric mobility. Although their figures are not comparable to those of Norway, the Swedes have a market share of close to 60% in electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Needless to say, Tesla is the best-selling brand in the country. So far this year, 14,000 Model Y units have been registered, which represents a 6% share of the total electric car market. These are large figures that increase the severity of the problem with technical service workers.
As the employees themselves acknowledge, they have not felt very appreciated by the company. They claim that their working conditions are worse than those of any mechanic from another company and ask Tesla to sign a collective agreement to guarantee equity with the rest of the industry. Although union membership in Sweden is very high, two out of every three workers in the country belong to a union, it is estimated that 90% of contracts are protected by some type of collective agreement that establishes minimum working conditions. This is not the case with Tesla workshop workers.
The company’s employees had already warned last week of their intentions if the company did not take appropriate action. Despite the threats, the company has not responded and, as of Friday, Tesla workshops will no longer receive customers. In total, there are 130 workers in seven workshops. The Americans oppose any possible unionization, but now they will be forced to negotiate agreements, which for the firm could set a dangerous precedent if the maneuver spreads to more countries in the European Union. In addition to the lack of service, the problem is that deliveries have been paralyzed at a vital moment with the arrival of the first units of the new Tesla Model 3.