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As Tesla looks to navigate uncertain demand with price cuts heading into 2024, the company is now also encountering heightened tensions in Sweden as the local transport workers' union intensifies its efforts by threatening to block the automaker's imports at all Swedish ports beginning November 17.
Tesla's stake in the Swedish market, which ranks as its fifth-largest in Europe with over 16,000 new vehicle registrations in the first three quarters of the year, underscores the significance of this confrontation.
The conflict in Sweden has escalated following the decision by the Swedish Transport Workers’ Union to stop handling Tesla vehicles at four major ports, according to a report by Bloomberg this week.
This action comes on the heels of Tesla's refusal to engage in collective bargaining with its service shop mechanics. Since October 27, workers from approximately 10 Tesla service locations and 20 repair shops, represented by IF Metall, have been on strike.
Amidst efforts by Tesla to reroute shipments to other ports, Tommy Wreeth of the Transport Workers' Union stated their intent to thoroughly eliminate any alternatives for Tesla, sealing off Swedish ports to the company's imports.
Bloomberg writes that the stand-off may intensify as additional labor unions in Sweden urge Tesla to agree to collective bargaining terms that they believe would ensure better conditions for employees. Susanna Gideonsson, leading the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, voiced a stern readiness to heighten the dispute if Tesla remains resistant.
Tesla, in a response to Swedish news outlet TT, maintained that its current terms are comparable, if not superior, to those offered under collective bargaining, questioning the need for any further agreements.
The company said it “already offers equivalent or better agreements than those covered by collective bargaining and finds no reason to sign any other agreement.”
Meanwhile, in other parts of the globe, we reported earlier this week that Tesla was considering revealing an affordable electric vehicle to be produced at its Giga Berlin-Brandenburg plant in Germany.
Reuters spoke with a source familiar with plans to build a 25,000-euro ($26,838) car at its Berlin-Brandenburg plant. There was no further information about the production start date or any specs on the new vehicle, which is planned to be the cheapest offering for the mass EU market. Currently, Tesla's least expensive car in Germany is the Model 3, starting at €42,990.
EV blog InsideEVs said Tesla CEO Elon Musk visited Giga Berlin last Friday and told staff about the new affordable car. However, the blog said, "We tried to find additional confirmation of this report, but apparently, the speech was limited only to employees and there is no video."
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