Elon Musk, who hates unions, has to deal with a rare strike at Tesla after his Swedish workers walked out

  • A Swedish union is leading strikes against Tesla to secure a collective labor agreement.

  • Tesla, led by the anti-union Musk, has resisted a joint agreement, which is common in Sweden.

  • Now dockworkers are threatening to block all Teslas unless better working conditions are agreed.

Tesla is facing growing strike action in Sweden over its refusal to accept a collective labor agreement.

Last week, the Swedish trade union IF Metall announced a walkout, saying that after having no success "over a long period of time" in negotiating a collective agreement with Tesla, it was left with no other option.

In a statement on its website, the union said it wanted "our members at Tesla to have the same decent and safe working conditions as the members at other similar companies in Sweden."

Around 90% of Sweden's employees are covered by collective agreements, The New York Times reported. The agreements allow labor conditions and wages to be negotiated between unions and companies.

IF Metall is seeking to set a basis for wages and benefits for the roughly 120 employees who work at Tesla service facilities in Sweden.

Not all Tesla employees are participating in the strikes, however.

Swedish dockworkers have also said they would support the action and block all deliveries of Teslas from being unloaded.

The dockworkers do not directly work for Tesla, but control the four major ports that the EVs can enter the country through.

Representatives from Tesla have agreed to meet with the union on Monday, a union official said, per The NYT.

The Nordic country is one of Tesla's smaller markets, but Elon Musk's EVs have become the most popular brand in Sweden this year, according to eu-evs.com.

Musk has consistently rejected calls for his staff to unionise, tweeting in 2018 that Tesla employees could lose their stock options if they did so.

His tweet was later found to have violated labor laws by a US judge.

But Musk is coming up against stricter labor laws and employee rights in Europe than he is used to in the US.

This week, Christiane Benner, the first female head of the union IG Metall, warned the billionaire not to impede efforts to unionize at Tesla's gigabyte factory in Berlin.

The factory has reportedly seen an unusually high number of work-related accidents and IG Metall says union signups among Tesla workers have surged.

"You need to be careful. The rules of the game are different here," Benner said, per Bloomberg.

Although Sweden's Tesla strike may only affect a small number of employees, it could be seen as a concession over unions that Elon Musk would prefer to avoid, particularly as the United Auto Workers union sets its sights on Tesla in the US.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.

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