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Tesla's Musk says fallout from Sweden strike 'insane'

By AFP - Nov 26,2023 - Last updated at Nov 26,2023

Some 130 mechanics at 10 Tesla workshops in seven cities across Sweden first stepped off the job on October 27, 2023 (AFP file photo)

STOCKHOLM — Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk broke his silence recently on a strike against his company in Sweden, saying it was "insane" that it may block new car deliveries.

Swedish postal workers began halting deliveries to Tesla offices and repair shops on Monday, in support of a strike launched by the metal workers' union IF Metall over the electric car maker's refusal to sign a collective wage agreement.

Financial newspaper Dagens Industri later reported that this in effect could block new Tesla's from hitting the road as license plates for new cars issued by the Swedish Transport Agency are only delivered via mail carrier Postnord.

Replying to a user posting about the issue on X, formerly Twitter, Musk, who had not publicly reacted to the strike previously, said simply: "This is insane."

Mikael Andersson, head of press at the Swedish Transport Agency, confirmed in an e-mail to AFP that new number plates are delivered through Postnord.

Andersson explained that the agency was bound to use the carrier under a procurement contract for all government agencies negotiated by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency.

Some 130 mechanics at 10 Tesla repair shops in seven cities across Sweden first walked off the job on October 27, according to trade union IF Metall.

The strike has since expanded to include other repair shops that service Tesla among other auto brands, and dock workers have stopped unloading Tesla cars at all Swedish ports.

In addition to IF Metall, nine other unions have announced "sympathy measures", including the Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees — which represents postal workers — and the Swedish Building Workers' Union.

Despite these moves, several Swedish media have reported that their impacts have so far been limited, and IF Metall has accused the electric car maker of systematically using strike breakers to circumvent the labour action.

Tesla has also found other ways to deliver new cars to Sweden, notably by road.

Negotiated sector-by-sector, collective agreements are the basis of the Swedish labour market model, covering almost 90 per cent of all employees and guaranteeing standard wages and working conditions.

According to IF Metall, Tesla had told them it would not sign a collective bargaining agreement because they "don't do that anywhere in the world".

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