Elon Musk Could Learn a Lesson in Sweden

The Tesla founder opposes collective agreements and is going head-to-head with the union. This fight may not be winnable.

The illustrious U.S. billionaire Elon Musk is known to be resolutely opposed to trade unions. However, the Tesla founder and his car may reach a limit in Sweden.

Work has hit a standstill in the Tesla factories there for several weeks; Tesla cars are not being unloaded and have been stuck in port. A dispute with the industrial union, which is a Goliath in Sweden and but dwarfed by the international automaker, is escalating. The union is demanding collective bargaining agreements for Tesla mechanics. Similar to Austria, most employees in Sweden are protected by collective bargaining. This approach has granted the Swedes a stable economic system without much interference for a long time. It is highly popular among both employees and employers.

But Tesla refuses to play by these rules. It’s a fight that may not be winnable. Recently, payment provider Klarna backed down and negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the union in the wake of immense social pressure.

Tesla has misjudged the situation. There is a good chance that the wave of solidarity will spread to Germany. One lesson that Musk could also learn is that the social partnership between employers and employees usually has more advantages than disadvantages.

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About Kirsty Low 76 Articles
I am a German to English translator from Scotland with a passion for all things related to language and translation. I have experience translating texts from diverse fields and enjoy taking on new challenges.

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