Tesla Sweden employee speaks out after getting expelled from IF Metall union

Tesla Sweden employee speaks out after getting expelled from IF Metall union

Near the end of 2023, trade union IF Metall announced that it was expelling some members who refused to participate in the organization’s ongoing actions against Tesla. One of these expelled members, who currently works as a mechanic for Tesla Sweden, recently shared his thoughts about the conflict between his employer and the union. The Tesla mechanic’s comments offer a fresh view of the conflict, and they highlight the potential toll of IF Metall’s escalating efforts against the EV maker.

In a conversation with Dagens Arbete (DA), the Tesla Sweden employee, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that worker conditions in the electric vehicle maker are good. The mechanic also noted that he has not felt much change in Tesla Sweden’s operations despite the different sympathy strikes that have been implemented by IF Metall’s allies against the electric car maker. Moreover, the mechanic shared the reason why he refused to strike against his employer.

“The main reason is that I care about the environment and enjoy my job. And I care a lot about our customers too. I want customers to feel safe choosing Tesla,” the former IF Metall member noted.

That being said, the Tesla Sweden mechanic admitted that his biggest stressor right now is the “harassment” from the union. When asked by the publication about his contacts with IF Metall, the expelled member noted that he had received messages and calls that sounded threatening. The mechanic admitted that he actually is quite afraid of the union.

“So you know, I’m terrified of IF Metall. They try to make it difficult for you, provoke, as it were, so that you feel that it is difficult to be at work. They have called and sent messages and they have really tried to explain what the strike means and why I should join, before I was then excluded. And it sounded threatening actually. They have said that I will never be able to work in a union shop in the future and no unions will represent me in the future. That’s how I understood it. That they will gang up against me,” the Tesla Sweden mechanic said.

Overall, however, the expelled IF Metall member noted that he is quite happy that he is no longer a member of the trade union since now he can “avoid the monthly fee.” When asked about what he thinks of his exclusion, the Tesla Sweden mechanic clarified that “no one asked me how I felt, what I wanted” and that “the union just runs its own race.” He also shared how his view of the union has changed over the years.

“When I joined, I was new to the industry, and it was obvious that you should join. Then, when I got older, I realized that the membership was just an expensive subscription to a magazine,” the former IF Metall member said.

IF Metall’s union secretary Martin Gunnarsson was asked by DA about the former member’s comments. Gunnarsson noted that it is unfortunate that someone feels afraid of the trade union, though the organization has made efforts to get ahold of all its members to inform them about the strikes against Tesla. “If this person has experienced fear, it is, of course, unfortunate; a person experiences what he experiences. But we have tried to get hold of them in order to reason. It has been necessary to find out how certain things work,” the union official said.

When asked about the notion of IF Metall members who do not wish to join the strike against Tesla, the union secretary noted that such employees are probably being pressured. “I am convinced that there was a lot of pressure on everyone. Those who have gone on strike and those who are inside and working, members or not. But it is not possible to make that type of judgment; we have handled it on the basis that you have been disloyal to the statutes,” Gunnarsson said.

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