Transport Workers Union’s sympathy strike fails

The Swedish Transport Workers union joined IF Metall’s fight against Tesla and plans to hold a sympathy strike. However, the union faces some challenges with the employers association in Sweden.

A few days ago, Sweden’s Transport Workers union announced it would stop collecting waste from local Tesla workshops starting December 24, 2023, joining other labor groups organizing sympathy strikes with IF Metall

“This type of sympathy action is very rare. We are using it now to protect the Swedish collective agreements and the safety of the Swedish labour market model. Tesla can’t ignore the norm on the Swedish labour market,” the President of the Swedish Transport Workers Union, Tommy Wreeth, told Reuters.

The Swedish Transport Workers union met some resistance from the Biltrafikens Arbetsgivareförbund (BA) as it attempted to block waste collection from Tesla workshops. The BA is an employers association in Sweden that helps companies with local labor laws, dispute negotiations, and work environment issues. It also helps companies handle labor law processes. 

The Transport Workers Union submitted a notice of industrial action (strike) to BA for December 24, 2023. BA objected to the union’s first notice on December 14, citing that it violates Sweden’s Co-determination Workplace Act (MLB) and is too unclear to implement. 

According to Sweden’s Co-determination in the Workplace Act, parties who want to engage in industrial action must inform the other party involved in the strike and the Mediation Institute in writing at least seven working days in advance. The union submitted a notice of its intention to hold a sympathy strike against Tesla on December 14 via email.

“We at Biltrafikens Arbetsgivareförbund do not have insight into which member companies possibly perform work at the workplaces specified. This, together with the fact that Transport did not comply with the notice obligation, means that we will consider taking legal action if the union chooses to trigger industrial action in accordance with the notice,” says Annika Nordin, head of negotiations at Biltrafikens Arbetsgivareförbund.

On December 19, BA objected to the Transport Workers union again, stating that the notification was difficult to understand as a whole. 

The employers’ association stated that the Transport Workers union chose to send a notice of industrial action to all 4,500 BA company members, none of whom are directly involved in the conflict between IF Metall and Tesla Sweden. Furthermore, the union’s notice is “attributable” to TM Sweden AB’s (Tesla) 11 workplaces that are not BA members. 

“We therefore believe that the content of the notice does not meet the law’s requirements for a description of the scope of the industrial action. The notice is disproportionate and affects companies with nothing to do with the conflict, says Annika Nordin, head of negotiations at Biltrafikens Arbetsgivareförbund,” stated BA’s second objection.

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Tesla Sweden update: Transport Workers Union’s sympathy strike fails


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