back to article Swedish Tesla strike goes international as Norwegian and Danish unions join in

Swedish Tesla employees have gone on strike, and unions in neighboring Denmark and Norway have joined boycotts of Elon Musk's electric automaker. Danish union 3F and Norway's Fellesforbundet, the largest private-sector unions in their respective nations, both announced plans this week to get in Tesla's way. 3F, which covers …

  1. msknight

    I'm actually on Musk's side on this

    I'm a union person. I've been a rep and stood alongside people in arguments with management. To a fair degree I agree with him. If the people in a company feel they don't need a union and the company is treating people fairly, then crack on. The only time I've been needed as a rep is when one side or the other, have gone militant and mutual respect has broken down. The lords and peasants thing is a bad analogy, though. Even with unions present, people rise within good companies.

    Unions from outside the company forcing Tesla (and their workers) to have a union when they don't want one, I disagree with. That a union can force other people outside a company, to cripple that company from outside... that's not right IMHO.

    In this case, however, there does seem to be a union inside Tesla which is having issues and negotiations aren't working, which have triggered sympathy strikes. So I feel like I don't have the full facts here.

    "Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace" was a very interesting read on engagement and although they went full employee ownership, it proves that there are different ways of engaging employees and company operations.

    1. Kevin O'Rourke

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      Nobody is forcing a union on employees who don't want to join one. In Sweden joining a union (or not) is an individual matter but it's also not up to the employer whether employees get to join one.

      Since you admit you don't have the full facts maybe you should read about the Swedish model for industrial relations? It has been very successful and one of the core parts is that it's up to employers (or employers associations) and unions to negotiate, with the state only guaranteeing people's basic rights.

      1. msknight

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        In this case, the union is forcing itself on the employer. The way I read it is... "If you don't have a union in Tesla, we'll starve you until you do." ... that's not acceptable. It has to be driven by the employees. If they don't want one, then why should a union force itself into Tesla.

        1. RPF

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          Don't be so naive. Every company gets the union it deserves.

          If the company was run reasonably, there's no way people could be "forced" to pay their own hard-earned money to subscribing to a union they didn't want.

          As for Musk not liking organised labour, that's a very strong cue that he has no idea of the positive outcomes achievable by working with a union (making his workforce happier, more motivated, etc.).

          1. msknight

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            If a company was run reasonably and the employees didn't want a union, then why should a union be there in the first place?

            Unions should only be where the employees feel they want them.

            We're basically saying the same thing... and you're calling me naive?

            1. MrDamage Silver badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              Yes, you're naive. You admit to not having all teh facts, and yet you blindly argue for His Muskiness's position.

              Fact: Employees in Sweden have been seeking a collective bargaining agreement with Tesla since the very beginning. Tesla have refused to play ball, so the workers have gone on strike. Other unions have joined in on sympathy strikes, because that's what happens in countries with strong worker protections.

              Tesla would have been aware of this, and purposely decided to try and force the American model on a country that would not stand for it.

              FAFO.

              1. EricB123 Bronze badge

                Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                Unions in Europe are soooo much different from American unions. They actually have an interest in their employer doing well.

                1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                  Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                  As part of Europe if not the EU "They actually have an interest in their employer doing well." would tend not to explain a lot of industrial unrest. I'm sure all the rail unions have the best interests of their employer at heart.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    Yeah > £60K to press a button. Keep striking - no one cares anymore. We just work from home.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Yeah > £60K to press a button.

                      Most of us here are paid around that to press buttons. What an ignorant and stupid thing to say.

                      Train drivers are paid for taking responsibility for other people's well being.

                      Is that too tricky a concept, caring about others?

                      1. SundogUK Silver badge

                        Re: Yeah > £60K to press a button.

                        "Train drivers are paid for taking responsibility for other people's well being."

                        They most certainly are not. H&S on the railways is almost entirely down to Railtrack in the UK. Nobody has been killed by a driver error where there wasn't infrastructure faults as well, for decades. Drivers are glorified bus drivers on three times the salary.

                        1. imanidiot Silver badge

                          Re: Yeah > £60K to press a button.

                          You clearly don't understand what a Train driver does or what the job entails, so maybe shut up about it?? For one thing, it's fairly rare for bus drivers to have to get out of their seat to inspect the bloody smear that remains on the front of their bus and along several hundred yards/meters of track/road because someone decided they'd rather face the front end of something very hard going 100 mph than face living.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Yeah > £60K to press a button.

                            Basically they press a button. He's not wrong. They are the most overpaid in Europe.

                            The quantum percentage that encounter suicides commonly take permanent (paid) sick leave due to stress. So they don't do so badly either.

              2. SundogUK Silver badge

                Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                "Employees in Sweden have been seeking a collective bargaining agreement with Tesla since the very beginning."

                Have they? Or is the union demanding this?

          2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            "If the company was run reasonably, there's no way people could be "forced" to pay their own hard-earned money to subscribing to a union they didn't want."

            Never heard of Equity then?

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              Is Equity very active in the Swedish car industry?

            2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              Indeed, or any closed shop.

          3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            -- Every company gets the union it deserves. --

            As a comment that's right up there with "a country gets the government it deserves"

        2. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          How do you know that they don't want a union if one doesn't exist that they can join or show support for without losing their job, for instance?

          If the union exists, membership isn't obstructed and nobody joins it, you have a point.

          But if the union does get formed and lots of people join it, you're just as wrong as Musk (which is pretty bad!).

          And the only way to tell? Allow a union.

          It's like those websites who used to always say: "Yeah, our site doesn't work in Opera/Netscape/Firefox because nobody uses it, our website stats show..." and never understood that if people CAN'T use something, you can't use those statistics as if they're proof that they DON'T WANT TO.

          I'm anti-union - for completely other reasons[1] - but even I think that an employer that tries to stop a union forming has something to hide. If the workers are truly happy, they'll join the union or not, and that'll be the end of it. A bit more paperwork, maybe a few things jump higher up the agenda, but generally everything will remain the same. Obstructing it and refusing to engage just tells me that Tesla has stuff to hide and is worried what a unionised action would reveal.

          [1] - I work in a heavily-unionised industry. My pay has been - without fail - higher than that negotiated by unions for their members. I disagree with some unions "we should all be on equal pay" stuff, because some employees inherently are more valuable than others. And my negotiating a better personal deal shouldn't be used as a trigger to also automatically upgrade everyone across the country doing a similarly-titled job. I've been sworn to NDA for my salary, and I even am still the proud sole-occupier of a payscale created especially for myself in a certain area of a London Borough (after MUCH protest, but I set my price and they either paid that or didn't, and they chose to literally INSTRUCT Borough HR to create a payscale just for me that nobody else has, and the Borough protested like hell because it was so much upheaval and could be so problematic for them across the rest of the Borough). At no point have I been "conned" into thinking I'm earning more either, as I am privy to payroll data in my role even if only incidentally. Also: I don't need union backing to get things done, because if I think something is that wrong, I just raise all the alerts and then move on if nothing is done. I also don't need a union for personal representation. I've literally told HR departments their own obligations under the law before now because they simply weren't aware. I once fought for 3 years to prove that I was doing everything I was supposed to do... on my own... against the entire employer I was working for... including the HR department... including their lawyers... while doing my job... without legal advise... just as a thing to clear my own name out of principle... and then left the day they admitted defeat... after they'd been trying to build a (false, I hasten to add) case against me for dismissal. It was the most fun I ever had.

          I've even represented co-workers against the employer that we're both working for on matters rather unrelated to my job. When I sat in on meetings at that co-worker's invitation, there was an immediate 180 about-face in how the employer dealt with them. And the look on the employer's face when they realised that the representation was not some union official or employment lawyer, but me, was priceless. They knew they were in trouble and I wouldn't back down. And not just one instance, not just one co-worker, and not just one employer, either.

          Unions should exist. Unions should be available to all. And workers should get a (free) choice of whether they want to join, irrespective of their employer's beliefs on the matter. And I'm someone who has never, and would probably never, join a union even if it was free and acted only in my interests.

          1. Joe W Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            Mate, you are not in a union, but you certainly do the job they should do...

            Also, things work a bit differently in the Nordics than in the UK - it seems a bit less of a mess (looking at the UK from the outside, just a general feeling).

          2. msknight

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            First off... full marks for representing someone and getting a result.

            > If the union exists, membership isn't obstructed and nobody joins it, you have a point.

            The problem is that unions can use muscle they don't have once they are in a place, and can achieve results that the staff who aren't members, don't actually want.

            I've been places where unions have done things that both the union members and the non-union members don't want to happen. Militant unions are just as bad for employees as militant employers.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              I really don't get why you're getting so many downvotes (apart from this being the Reg, hugely left-leaning, and passionate Musk-haters almost to a man/woman/non-binary entity).

              As I understand this case, it hinges on protection racket-esque practices by the unions; "nice company you've got there, would be a shame if something happened to it; join us and you won't have any problems". That's unacceptable, regardless of the wider context. I'm all for legal protections to ensure that a union CAN be formed IF the employees of the ACTUAL COMPANY actually WANT it. I'm against having this 'choice' imposed upon them whether they like it or not.

              And you're correct that unions often claim to speak on behalf of employees who aren't members, weren't consulted, do not align with their ideology, and do not want whatever they say they're fighting for. Throughout the years I have worked for several large corporations, and as night follows day, come salary raise time the union was pushing for a "fair and equitable distribution for all" (i.e. 'everybody gets 2%') against the company policy of a greater share of the rewards but only to high performers. As a high performer, the unions did not speak for me; yet they invariably claimed to do so.

              1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                apart from this being the Reg, hugely left-leaning ...

                You what? The commentariat here are overwhelmingly libertarian right: loads of global warming deniers and a general belief that women have no place in IT.

                1. msknight

                  Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                  Global warming deniers in charge of server rooms :-) Now there's a recipe for you!

                  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    >Global warming deniers in charge of server rooms :-) Now there's a recipe for you!

                    Saves a fuckton on the AC - you just look at the temperature warnings, put your fingers in your ears and go "Nee Neee Neee"

                    1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                      and that is related to global climate change (please remember its not warming anymore because people kept saying but its colder) how?

                2. SundogUK Silver badge

                  Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                  Say something that disparages socialism and watch the downvotes then.

                  1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    Say something

                    Maybe acting like a RWNJ *might* have something to do with it..

                  2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    "Say something that disparages socialism and watch the downvotes then."

                    Exactly that. And as if to prove the point, you already have 3 :D :D :D

                3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                  overwhelmingly libertarian right: loads of global warming deniers and a general belief that women have no place in IT

                  Speak for yourself. Most of the IT people I know (or have worked with) certainly do not comply with your stereotype.

                  Mirror-projection maybe?

              2. msknight

                Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                I'm not totally sure either, but I do know that if I'm going to speak my mind, I have to be prepared to accept that I'm going to put some people's noses out of joint :-) ... comes with the territory and I'm not too bothered about it.

                But I do believe that if they keep pushing this, then Musk is the kind of person who is liable to throw his toys out of the pram, abandon the country, blame the unions and still get a good nights sleep.

                I wouldn't like to play chicken with Musk. He doesn't blink that often, even when facing a precipice.

                I sometimes have visions of Musk, astride a nuclear missile freshly dropped out of a plane, waving his stetson and shouting "Yeee haaa!" on his way to his impending doom... and damn anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in the blast radius.

                1. LogicGate Silver badge

                  Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                  You expect Tesla to give up on Norway, the country which for almost 10 years was their biggest market (due to Norwegian car tax model) out of spite?

                  1. msknight

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    I don't expect it... I just say that I don't put it past Musk to do it.

                    1. LogicGate Silver badge

                      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                      And it would be incredibly stupid to do so...

                      ...hmmm..

                      ..ok, I see your point :)

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                    Hmm, dangerous assumption of rational decision making by Musk.

                    Ever heard of Twitter?

                    :)

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

                      Yup the 8K+ staff love him and his tacit support for employment law.

            2. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              "I've been places where unions have done things that both the union members and the non-union members don't want to happen. Militant unions are just as bad for employees as militant employers."

              US based I presume? That's a rare thing to happen in the EU. (And unions are losing members and power in general, at least in the Netherlands)

          3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            One possibility you seem to have missed is the closed shop - no choice other than to join.

            1. Nissemus

              Re: Closed shop

              "One possibility you seem to have missed is the closed shop - no choice other than to join."

              You appear to be unaware that the closed shop was banned in Europe by the European Court of Human Rights in the late 70s or early 80s.

          4. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            Completely missing the point. The union exists; the employees are members. The issue is Tesla refuses to enter into collective bargaining. Because they don't agree with that socialist shit.

            1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

              Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

              Collective agreements benefit all the employees, not just those who happen to be members of the union which negotiated it.

          5. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

            One thing to remember is that lots of big American companies operate in the Nordic countries and I would claim they adopt to the systems without much of a difficulty.

            And it wpuld not surprise me if they tried to take something home too.

            Also trade unions are not often company specific but "Metal" and "Transport" and such.

            More clout that way and when you change company you don't change union perhaps.

    2. simonlb Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      "I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing,"

      The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one. That's exactly why anyone working for Musk should be in a union; so that when the capricious Lord in charge decides on a whim to do something arbitrary and 'all you peasant workers can either jump to it or leave', they have some form of protection. Unions aren't about fighting employers, they are about protecting the employees working for employers so that they can do their job properly without having to worry about their employer unfairly canning them for 'reasons.' That said, I'd never work for Musk even if I were in a union because the guys a toxic shitbag who's cultivated this fake aura and cult of being a genius when he really is not.

      1. msknight

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        Just a bit of a check on one aspect of what you're saying. - "That's exactly why anyone working for Musk should be in a union;"

        You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees. Give them the legal power to make their own mind up, let them make their own mind up, and the legal muscle to have a union if they want one.

        And yeah, I'm not Musk's greatest fan either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees.

          FWIW, I read it as more of a recommendation ...

          1. msknight

            Re: You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees.

            Yes, I took simonlb's comments as a personal thought too.... but the whole point of where I'm coming from is other people making decisions on behalf of the workers themselves.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees.

              It's a straw man argument, it's not a particularly entertaining or plausible one, and no-one here is buying it. Time to jog on.

              1. msknight

                Re: You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees.

                Yeah, like that's going to happen AC. Nice try.

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          Just a bit of a check on one aspect of what you're saying. - "That's exactly why anyone working for Musk should be in a union;"

          You're making decisions here on behalf of Musk's employees.

          No, they are making a recommendation to Musk's employees.

        3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          FTFY

          "That's exactly why anyone working for Musk should HAVE THE OPTION TO be in a union;"

        4. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          @ msknight

          You are completely missing the point. The dispute isn't over union recognition (let alone forcing employees to join a specific union). This about is about signing up to a collective agreement, which on one side is negotiated by the appropriate industry-sector union (IF Metall in this case). All employees, union-member or not, benefit from the agreement.

          Don't assume things work the same everywhere as where you are.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      "If the people in a company feel they don't need a union and the company is treating people fairly, then crack on. "

      Absolutely. But in this case, the people in the company ARE in a Union, and Tesla is refusing to speak to them as a union. Musk himself says that if Tesla employees want to unionise then there is a company failure (ie the employees feel that the company isn't treating them fairly). But when it DOES actually happen, instead of recognising the company failure and seeing what is needed to fix it, he and Tesla management are doubling down

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        Unions can do lots of things. Collective bargaining is only one of them.

    4. uncle sjohie

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      This is not exactly about unionizing, but more about working within a framework of a country. A framework that has proven to be quite beneficial to both employers and employees in this case, so why he is micromanaging this is quite baffling to begin with. He just doesn't want to understand that there are other ways to run an successful company, besides his American way.

      they literally only ask that Tesla joins that successful system, in stead of working against it. They don't want any money or extra benefits.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        "They don't want any money or extra benefits."

        The union is demanding collective bargaining and striking because Tesla refuses. This is definitely demanding more money.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          @SundogUK

          "collective bargaining" is about equal treatment and minimum stamdards, longtime advantages for working people and such, so what ypu are claiming is that Musk is a cheapscate, but "collective bargaining" is bigger than one company.

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      You have got this totally wrong. Go back and read up on the facts. And while you're doing that, you might want to check on the similarities and differences on unions in Scandinavia versus those in the UK and the US. Union membership is common in Scandinavia, but days lost to strikes are very low.

      Musk's position is that, as he's such a great employer, no one needs collective bargaining. This is sophistry at best, cynical bullshit at worst. His libertarian capitalism is predicated on extracting the maximum added value from employees and the supply chain and he will sack anyone who disagrees with his decisions on this matter. He will always argue from the position that capital is better than labour.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        One of the reasons the Nordics earn more per capita than the British I would claim is due to unions and rather stable work conditions.

        Regarding Musk and his opinion on trade unions I think we have to remember he is a white South African who emigrated first to Canada and then to the USA.

    6. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      Man violates INTERNATIONAL labor agreements, rules and regulations and you... agree with him and blame the victims?

      Can you even hear yourself?

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        What international labour agreements?

    7. EricB123 Bronze badge

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      My career wasn't anything to do with the automobile industry. But as an electrical engineer, it is easy to see the need for a union. Employers will try to get an H-1B engineers at every opportunity, cut employment the day after announcing record profits from new products designed by guess who, and in general treated engineers as educated dirt bags. Heck, I agree with Elon in principle that employers have failed if it is necessary to get unions. Well, most of my employers have failed miserably, and if I had to choose a career again it would NOT have anything to do with non-unionized engineering.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        If hiring H-1B engineers is legal, why wouldn't you? The issue is the national legislation not the company.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: hiring H-1B engineers

          Why, indeed? Good idea!

          You're fired. We have a new (and far less expensive) imported replacement. Now get out.

    8. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      @msknight

      You need to get down off your high horse and be practical.

      The world even if its just sweden is a better place if those unions get their way. Nobody needs to defend an arsehole like Musk, because youc an ebe sure he doesnt give a shit about you.

    9. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

      Wherever they are in the world, Tesla only respects the legal minimum, and has finally run into union support and collective wage bargaining as found in the Nordics like "Autopilot" runs straight into lorries with trailers crossing the road ahead at crossroads.

      And no, there's no legal obligation but woe betide any company which tries to run roughshod over the unions in the Nordics.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

        Nice company you got there. Be a shame if it got broken.

        1. ericbab

          Re: I'm actually on Musk's side on this

          I see your Boyz don't wanna pay thier union dues, be a shame if your cars didn't make it to port now wouldn't it...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doh!

    Quote

    It's unknown whether Tesla plans to take further action to stop the strikes, or whether it'll cut its losses and bargain with employees – we asked, but didn't hear back.

    I fully expect that the petulant man-child aka Musk will take his ball and go home. Like all bullies he hates proper resistance. Look at his boss, Donald "I am the Retribution" Trump who has apparently decided to chicken out of testifying in NYC next week.

    Look at Musk's reaction to Ad buyers boycotting Twittler... He loves to get his own way and hates it if someone has the temerity to say 'No'.

    1. msknight

      Re: Doh!

      Trump hasn't chickened out... he's wised up and realised that every time he opens his mouth, he digs himself a deeper hole. And right now, the hole he's in is heading to China.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Trump hasn't chickened out... he's wised up

        I'll have some of what you're on, that shit is STRONG!

      2. KarMann Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Doh!

        Why not both?

  3. PhilipN Silver badge

    Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

    Unions want to force Tesla to the table when they have no agreement in place. In other words they want to be the ones making the rules. Why would Musk then even be stupid enough to make an agreement knowing that the unions will use it as a weapon at every eventuality?

    1. Beach pebble

      Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

      "IF Metall workers in Sweden – where Tesla doesn't manufacture vehicles but has a number of repair and service shops – have been on strike since October after what they described as years of Tesla refusing to bargain with the union. IF Metall-represented employees claim Tesla hasn't guaranteed them good wages, a pension or insurance."

      The core cause is in the article, perhaps you just skimmed thru it and missed this. Sweden is not the USA.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        My point exactly. And who mentioned USA?

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          You brought the UK into it, which is just as irrelevant.

          The way labour relations work in Sweden is not the same as in the UK or USA. It’s called the “Swedish Model” because it’s different to other places. And it’s very successful. Pay and conditions are always negotiated collectively per employer in Sweden, and as a result Sweden has very little labour protections in law. Tesla is trying to game this lack of a legal flaw and taking a hostile approach to the longstanding practice because it wants to underpay and overwork its staff. Musk’s “Lords and peasants” comment is probably the most inaccurate summary of a situation he’s given this year, although it’s still December and he really is the gift that keeps giving on the public idiocy front...

          So, who gives a shit about what unrelated unions did long ago in a different country - and if you think the unions were what killed the UK car industry, you know not a whole lot about the UK car industry: plants were unionised in the BL days; plants are still unionised today. Unions become a problem for management only when they’re not running their business properly, and Tesla... well, it’s managing to make a small argument in one country balloon into a wider problem in a region. Bravo, Elmo.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            It's actually called the "Nordic model" and is one of the reasons Norway, Denmark and Finland have joined.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_model

            "The Nordic model comprises the economic and social policies as well as typical cultural practices common in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden).[1] This includes a comprehensive welfare state and multi-level collective bargaining[2] based on the economic foundations of social corporatism,[3][4] and a commitment to private ownership within a market-based mixed economy[5]...".

            1. SundogUK Silver badge

              Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

              And the Nordic model only works in high trust societies, which because of high, unregulated immigration from low-IQ countries, is rapidly disappearing.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

                > high, unregulated immigration from low-IQ countries

                Oh give it over you festering boil on society. As far as I'm concerned, you manage to lower the IQ of an empty room by just walking in. Your racist cant is not welcomed anywhere where rational people gather to talk.

        2. Beach pebble

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Perhaps you have a clue where Tesla is from?

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        "Tesla hasn't guaranteed them good wages, a pension or insurance."

        None of which are legal requirements. If you don't like what Tesla is offering, go work somewhere else.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Instead of going to work somewhere else, workers stay and fight so that Tesla offers it. What's the problem with that?

    2. Oh Matron!

      Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

      UK Car industry size: Over 775,014 cars, 101,600 commercial vehicles and 1.5 million engines were built in the UK in 2022

      When you say "Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry", can you clarify what you mean?

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        Yeah. Land Rover Defender parts from all over Europe and finally bolted together in Croatia.

        Was that one of those reckoned to be "built in the UK"?

        Central console in my UK-branded car "Made in Czech Republic".

        That's a UK Car industry?

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          This is not a consequence of Unions, it's the consequence of so-called globalisation and the search for maximum profit for shareholders which led to transfer jobs to countries where the salaries are the lowest.

          Look at Volvo, it still makes many cars in Sweden, where Unions are strong.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          >Yeah. Land Rover Defender parts from all over Europe and finally bolted together in Croatia.

          Land Rover, as in part of the Jaguar Land Rover group owned by Tata Motors - part of our old friends the Tata Group?

          An Indian owned car company now - but they still produce 400,000 cars in the UK annually (2019 figures - ignoring the Covid hit years for now) - down over 150,000 from the peak in 2016. Nissan another 340,000 and Toyota 124,000. Honda also around 100,000 - but they have since shut the plant near Swindon.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            And Honda only closed Swindon because of cost pressures (including Brexit, despite their denials that it was not Brexit killing the plant), *not* because of unions. If anything, Honda bent over backwards to try and get their workers in Swindon either reemployed elsewhere or retrained to be able to start a job in a different industry *thanks* to the union.

            Yes, the unions in the past were ruinous to the UK automotive industry, but only because the owners of the brands/factories were trying to do things that would have been detrimental to the workers. Wouldn't *you* (not you specifically, Anon) want to have representation that makes sure you get a great deal? And again, yes, sometimes it seems the unions are so stuck in a rut that they don't see the forest for the trees (which then leads to job losses and the like).

            There are swings and roundabouts to being either in a union or in an industry represented by a union. Some are good, some are bad. But in the Nordics, unions have been a positive influence because they broadly represent the spirit of Nordic society (looking after one another). Tesla would do well to get over their opposition to unionist movements and negotiate a deal.

        3. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_the_United_Kingdom#Assembly_plants

          There's still a LOT of vehicles being built in the UK, and a lot of vehicles built for "UK" manufacturers (at least ones that the average person on the street would think of as being UK, regardless of what their actual ownership is - e.g. JLR...) so unless your definition of "UK car industry" is so narrow that you're referring specifically to a) cars vs any type of vehicle, b) cars built in the UK, AND c) cars built in the UK by manufacturers under UK ownership, then you're somewhat off the mark in suggesting we don't have much of a "UK car industry" any more...

      2. short a sandwich

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        Poor management killed BL aided by strong unions. Everyone sees the red menace but ignores the extremely poor management team who thought they were still part of the empire, we're British and too big to fail, we don't need to innovate. Compare the Austins of the late 70's with the offerings from VW and tell me that the management team were competent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Yup, the biggest problem with the British car industry in the 70s and 80s was terrible decision making. British Leyland was a mess of previously separate companies, and there was a lot of politics going on. For example, the US market was loving the MGB but wanted a more powerful version. That would require the Rover V8 engines which were only available in limited numbers. The BL management at the time was dominated by Triumph execs, who in a fit of pique at the MG being a more popular export than their own marque decided to use the V8 engines in the new Triumph Stag. The Stag was another in a long line of Triumph disasters, but even that didn't stop them then squandering the engines on another poor design, the V8 powered version of the dreadful TR7.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            The Triumph Stag did not use the Rover V8.

            1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

              Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

              I stand corrected on the Stag, although the TR8 did use the Rover engine. It's been a very long while since I was told about some of the machinations at BL by an engineer that worked there. He was a former Rover guy, and said that the Triumph management were in his opinion determined to undermine all the other marques. I've also heard from Stag owners that the car is unreliable even by BL standards, so maybe the Triumph V8 engine was to blame. I do know that MG were desperate for a V8 model, and their stopgap solution was the MGC - a straight six powered MGB with a big bump on the bonnet since the engine was too big to fit properly.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

                a straight six powered MGB with a big bump on the bonnet since the engine was too big to fit properly."

                The "bump" on the bonnet would probably be a big marketing point to US buyers. It makes it look even more powerful than it really is :-)

            2. xyz Silver badge

              Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

              Nooooo... The adenoiders are in. I think it's time we all got back to work now.

        2. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Probably true. My first new car in the UK was a Mk1 VW Golf (an early 1.5 LS with the square chrome bumpers) - Its UK manufactured competitors included Allegros, Maxis, and Marinas. Choosing the Golf was not difficult. I’m obviously a stick-in-the-mud, the current car is a Golf 7.5 - My 4th Golf and 6th VW out of the 12 new cars I have owned.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            But then you missed the joys of maintenance of those British cars.

            I need a wiper blade for a 82 Allegro

            Early 82 or late 82 plate ?

            Made in Longbridge or Dagenham ?

            Was it made during the strike when they swapped in the wipers from the Morris van ?

            Was it made by Dave on a friday ?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          BL?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            British Leyland? Born Losers? Bolivian Lovechild?

            Don't know - I'm also just guessing :)

          2. Lykofos

            Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

            BL = British Leyland. Basically a conglomerate of British car companies like MG, Triumph, Austin, Rover and others that were forced into one larger company. Like a lot of companies formed like this in the 70s and 80s, it did not work out as BL is long gone and many of those brands are dead or like MG own by foreign companies.

      3. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        i am sure you know it's about a comparison to numbers years ago and ownership of brands and factories today.

        The difference is stark.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

      Causes of the fall of British Leyland - not just unions

      1) The Japanese car industry

      2) not rationalising the models available under the various companies/brands including competition between brands within the company - Rover, MG, Morris, Austin, Wolesley, Jaguar, Triumph

      2a) with multiple competing dealerships

      3) Oil crisis

      4) 3-day week (caused by worker 'unrest' in another industry)

      5) industrial action by unions

      6) Other UK-based manufacturers (Ford, Vauxhall) avoiding BL's problems

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        @AC

        What you list there are things that happened to other European countries too.

        After the war Britain was the second biggest car manufacturer in the world.

        But eventually Germany, France and other got their industry running while the opposite happened in Britain. I would add to your list a very militant lady too.

        1. graeme leggett Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          FWIW

          After the war, UK was the second biggest car manufacturing nation and the majority of output was destined for export to earn foreign currency. Cars were also subject to around 45% purchase tax. until 1960s (from 1947 expensive cars had 66% purchase tax)

          I also just found that British production capacity in 1962 was one million cars more than was actually built

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Germany, France and others did so with strong unions too. Mostly they got their industry running by having competent management, competent politicians and decent products.

          Most people working on british cars of the era (and even before, in the 60s) will be familiar with the "Leyland clearance" which was basically plus or minus an inch. Encountered it myself with a landrover where the location of one of the frame outriggers was nearly an inch out of it's usual placement. Yet the fuel tank fit fine. Because it was nearly an inch shorter than usual. Apparently it was normal that sometimes things wouldn't fit, so they'd just walk over to the pile with a yard stick and find one that DID fit. Because everything was just... "close enough".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        I'll add a 7th to that list, although maybe implied by the Japanese item at number 1.

        Quality.

        My father used to be a BL main dealer up until the late 80's when he switched to Ford and Nissan.

        I have been in an awful lot of BL cars across the different brands and a lot of them were awful. Awful design (Allegro Vanden Plas looking at you. The Allegro isn't a looker, but the Vanden Plas is one of the ugliest cars ever made), awful bodywork finish and longevity and awful reliability. I've been in a couple that caught fire (Rover 3500 VP and Austin Rover 850), the Metro just fell to pieces, a friends gear stick detatched while driving. The turbo charged Metro would blow the head gasket often, other turbos of the era (Renault 5 for example) weren't great, but usually someone had boosted the turbo pressure before they blew up, not the Metro, that would go pop straight off the production line. I've had the electric seats in an 850 pin me to the dashboard, fortunately in the passenger seat. My dad used to rally, I don't think he finished a rally in the Marina (back suspension) or the Allegro (suspension would bounce the car off the road inevitably). He did have a rally prepared TR7 V8, that broke down constantly and did about 7 miles to the gallon. There was also a Jag XJS that brings back memories, I think my dad considered running that himself for maybe a month before it became apparent that it was always in for repairs.

        Speaking of the Japanese, the Triumph Acclaim was a 1980's JV with Honda. It had BL bodywork and Honda drive train. The joke was that the car would litterally rust and fall apart well before the engine or drive train gave up the ghost. And when I say joke, I mean it was true, it would just rust to bits while still running fine.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

      Speaking as someone who was alive when the UK car industry died - the management was as much to blame as the unions.

      Decades of non-investment, refusal to innovate and then hard politics from both sides is what killed the native mass car market. We were making poor cars really badly and trying to sell them at inflated prices with minimal fit, finish and options.

      The same thing happened to the motorbike manufacturers - although I'm glad that Triumph was resurrected (I had a Tiger 900cc for a while - very nice bike).

      Then the Japanese decided to beat us at our own game and started selling well-designed, well-built cars with a high level of fit and finish and loads of options as standard. The first car I ever had with aircon was a Honda - British cars (in most cases) didn't even have it as an option and, if they did (mostly the executive cars) it was an *expensive* option that required constant maintenance.

      You could always (until the 90's anyway) go for an well built expensive German car - but again, the base spec was.. base and everything else was an cost option. During the 90s the MBAs started taking over at BMW/Audi and the quality went down the pan and they came very close to losing their way completely.

      So no - it wasn't "the unions" that were solely responsible for killing British industry in general and the car makers specifically - it was decades of minimal investment and innovation, coupled with decades of shoddy employee relations that created the vacuum that lead to militant unions. Who then went too far and ended the already rotting corpse of an industry that had been outcompeted and out innovated by the Japanese (and later the Koreans).

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

        "Decades of non-investment, refusal to innovate and then hard politics from both sides is what killed the native mass car market. We were making poor cars really badly and trying to sell them at inflated prices with minimal fit, finish and options."

        This. This, this, this, this, this, and yet another dollop of "This" just for good measure.

        It's amazing how much armchair pundits want to only blame "unions!" for the downfall yet completed exonerate the decades of absolutely CRAP management. When you go about blaming modern U.S. businesses for, really, just about anything, remember that U.S. businesspeople imported their attitudes from almost a century of the UK leading worldwide industry. Squeeze every penny out of every possible corner, dismissive [class-attitude] worker relations, sitting on their laurels, profits-over-customer business models.

        1. John PM Chappell

          Re: Exactly what destroyed the UK car industry

          Completely agree, I was alive for it too, though a little young to actually drive them, on the whole. My parents did have an Allegro and I recall a Metro briefly. They were both crap. Dad ended up with a Ford Sierra that lasted forever. They died because the cars they designed were crap, they built them crappily, and they ran their business and plants crappily.

  4. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    El Reg finds the best quotes

    "He can't just make his own rules." => Spidey-sense says an f-bomb will land soon.

    "I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing." => Factually correct, if we take into account the plural of lord.

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: El Reg finds the best quotes

      It did take me a few moments to properly re-parse that (I think) as a restatement of the Highlander rule: There can be only one.

  5. Excelziore

    Who is being reasonable in the conflict?

    What I have read is that the union, IF metall, has given Tesla at least 3 options that it finds acceptable:

    1) Negotiate a collective agreement between Tesla and the union.

    2) Tesla joins an employers association and lets them negotiate with the union on Tesla's behalf.

    3) Tesla outsources it's employees to a third-party that has a collective agreement.

    Collective agreements set a "floor". Employers can always offer better terms and conditions if they so choose.

    Tesla has apparently said no to all three options. The union started this discussion in 2017 and decided to take action in 2023.

    In other news Tesla Sweden apparently owes a local vendor more than 4 million SEK. Tesla has refused to pay the invoice which has been sent to a collection agency.

    1. fajensen

      Re: Who is being reasonable in the conflict?

      In other news Tesla Sweden apparently owes a local vendor more than 4 million SEK. Tesla has refused to pay the invoice which has been sent to a collection agency.

      Tesla will discover that the Swedish legal system prefers the swift and summary way of dealing with dead-beats. The Swedes like their auctions, its a culture thing for the community to go to the bankrupt neighbours place on a sunday and strip it of anything of value, while having coffee and cakes :).

      And, to emphasise the vindictiveness and attention to details: When something goes to collection, "Kronofogden" will shamelessly sell everything, even your most pathetic tupperware collection! Just look at it: https://auktion.kronofogden.se/auk/w.ObjectList?inC=KFM&inA=WEB

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Who is being reasonable in the conflict?

      4 million Sweseta, that’s about €400000, not really a lot of money. That Tesla bothers

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Who is being reasonable in the conflict?

        More like 300000 actually, but that question is much beyond anything of importance.

    3. ericbab

      Re: Who is being reasonable in the conflict?

      Ultimatly, IF the demand for thier cars exceed demand then they can exclude sweden from thier distribution until the demand lowers, this would maximize margins If demand would allow it.

      If demand is low and they need the swedish market but they don't want the Destructive nature that unions have on innovation and rapid development then doing as much work out of sweden on thier cars as possible might be the ticket, problem is the it's a island, but population wise might not be worth it.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    You would a thought…

    For a guy who claims:

    “At this point, I think I know more about manufacturing than anyone currently alive on earth.”

    …he’d of heard about Unions.

    Up the workers, workers united will never be defeated!

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: You would a thought…

      It’s a true statement. He thinks he knows…

      That’s why it’s fun to watch him fail, repeatedly, to understand.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: You would a thought…

        I have lot of doubts about his capacity for "thinking".

        "Sinking", on the other hand...

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You would a thought…

      workers united will never be defeated

      Given my innate cynicism and too many decades of watching industrial relations in this country including nasty union on union turf wars(*), I'd correct that to: workers united would be a fucking miracle.

      (*) As opposed to TERF wars, which are a whole new pile of shit I don't want to go anywhere near.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing"

    Bullshit. His entire business career has been one big example of acting like a lord and treating staff like peasants. The trade union movement has its roots in workers organising against bosses in new industrial production who acted like the old aristocracy. He can't stand any challenge to his entitled authority, and constantly needs to pick fights to keep his massive ego inflated. It would do him a lot of good to start thinking of other people as something he needed to always take into consideration, rather than just himself. And I don't mean in his current "I am the brilliant saviour of humanity who is always right" way.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing"

      "He can't stand any challenge to his entitled authority"

      The whole point here is that he is not entitled to the authority in this case -- he only thinks he is.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing"

      Yeah his statement was beyond cringe and straight into psychopath asshole territory.

      Billionaire acts like tyrant and claims to act benevolently.

      To bad his expensive education did not include grade school history. That same history of tyranny most Europeans are MORE than familiar with.

  8. Tron Silver badge

    Be fair.

    Would you want to be the next British Leyland?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be fair.

      Well my mate's Teslas have been about the closest in reliability to my Dad's 1972 Morris Marina** I have seen since about 1980 when we started to get proper cars from Japan. He seems to be following in BL's footsteps in multiple ways...

      ** To be fair, the Marina was actually quite reliable - never actually being undriveable that I recall, (unlike the Teslas in question). It's just that everything that could drop off, crack, split, tear, leak, or disintegrate from water damage due to being cardboard, did so.

      1. EBG

        old enough

        to remember the culture shock of Japanese cars coming on the market. The reliability was a revelation.

      2. Bebu Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Be fair.

        "Marina was actually quite reliable"

        Someone had to mention this unpleasant memory.

        The Leyland P76 would have been a close contender.

        No wonder the the japanese marques quickly supplanted the UK vehicles in AU (and elsewhere.)

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Be fair.

        Well my mate's Teslas have been about the closest in reliability to my Dad's 1972 Morris Marina

        Our 1966 Morris Minor is pretty reliable. After lockdown 1 my Toyota C-HR had two flat batteries (engine battery and hybrid battery), required 12 hours of charging to even start then had to go to the Toyota garage to have the controller reset because the hybrid system wouldn't come online..

        The Morris Minor? Battery still had charge so we turned the engine over. After about 5 seconds, it coughed into life and ran perfectly normally [1].

        It gets an annual fettle from a bloke wot does (he's a retired car mechanic and the Morris is modern compared to his collection of cars) and, other than doing the tyres once in a while, needs no other stuff done. My wife uses it 2-3 times a week - it does about 4K miles a year (it's currently on 124K miles - still got the original engine although we've had the crankshaft and head replaced when the old crankshaft broke about 25 years ago - during which some of the valves got manged so we replaced the head as well. )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Be fair.

          Did you tow it round there with the Morrie?

  9. xylifyx

    Spreads to Germany

    I hope he realizes that this will not be contained to the nordics if it drags on. Danish unions have indicated they are in contact with IG Metall in germany about the matter. Germany, where the Tesla factory is.

    1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

      Re: Spreads to Germany

      Yep. IG Metal (unsuprisingly the German equivalent of IF Metall) is probably Germany's strongest and most forthright union.

  10. nautica Silver badge
    Holmes

    We already knew that...

    "...It's unknown whether Tesla plans to take further action to stop the strikes, or whether it'll cut its losses and bargain with employees – we asked, but didn't hear back."

    No shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We already knew that...

      No shit.

      As in not even a poo emoji? Scandalous, truly.

      Oh wait, that was Twitter X.

  11. Tron Silver badge

    Explanation.

    Musk is an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs want to get things done asap, optimising the process, and be in control of it. They see unions as pointless political entities that will undermine their control and slow things down. Which of course they will.

    The solution is for entrepreneurs to do their thing and then step back. Maybe run R&D, leaving industry professionals to be part of the inevitable management/union shit show that happens when you scale up and employ more workers. Inevitable, because of human nature. Management want the most out of the workforce and vice versa.

    You can't fix human nature. Some entrepreneurs are quite good at people management - Branson for example. But in the end, there are limits to what you can do when your employee count goes up.

    Musk maybe needs to be a serial entrepreneur, because running stuff beyond the start up phase is a different ball game.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Explanation.

      I more had the feeling that he's constantly doing new things to make sure he's elsewhere and has everyone distracted when it all falls down because of his public statements, but that makes his stay at X puzzling. Unless there's something he's trying to distract people from that we have as yet not picked up.

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Explanation.

        You mean getting stoned and making a stupid offer to buy a platform to stroke his ego and then realising it wasn't worth what he offered... but he made an ironclad agreement and has to honour it... so he strikes a deal with 3rd parties and authoritarian regimes to help fund it... to give them access to the data on users who may be critical of their regimes... and to set about destroying a platform that gives global reach and allows activists to mobilise and share in real time, data and information to organise and protest such regimes and fascist leaning figures.

        No... aside from that... I can't think of anything else either.

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Explanation.

        Like the overvaluation of Tesla?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Explanation.

      s/entrepreneur/cunt

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Explanation.

      Elmo is just a very lucky trustafarian.

      You give him far too much credit.

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Explanation.

      Funny that... Germany is full of those entrepreneurs and surprisingly they don't have a problem with this. Why? Maybe because they understand that their workers are fundamentally important to the process of making stuff, and that without workers, you don't get anything done? And they know being an asshole does not get you plaudits from your workers, and they give you the middle finger instead?

      1. ericbab

        Re: Explanation.

        Germany won't be a industrialized economy in 15 years time, so it'll be interesting how they cope with new reality when that happens

  12. Jeff 11

    Time for Twitler to accept dealing with unions as a cost of doing business and trim a tiny fraction off his bottom line. The Nordics are very productive so I think it’s less likely that their unions will be unreasonable, but the longer this goes on the worse it’s going to get for him.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Sssshhhh! Let him find out!

  13. fredj

    Mr Musk is now far more powerful than any one of the worlds smaller countries. I don't know his total cash flow but again he must be in the same league as many whole countries. One thing for sure he is there because he gets vast amounts of very advanced work done without parliaments, elections and all the other guff of "advanced countries". It's no wonder unions want to do him down!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I don't know his total cash flow but again he must be in the same league as many whole countries."

      He may be on a par with Venezuela. Previously quite well off, still has some significant oil reserves that could keep it well off, but financially, not really doing very well at all and currently looking at stealing about the northern 1/3rd of Guyana for the oil and mineral reserves.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Stan harder and we might believe you!

      LOL, just kidding. We'll never believe that bollocks.

    3. HMcG

      Norway, one of the countries the article is about, and a small country with a population of around 5 million, has a sovereign weath fund (the financial equivalent of the petty cash book) of over $1.2 trillion. In comparison, Elon Musk's net worth peaked at about $200 billion, and has dropped considerably since then. The idea that Musk is more powerful than one of the Nordic countries in question is utterly ill-informed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        His wealth is probably comparable to that of IF Metall members, and probably a small fraction of all the allied northern euro engineering unions. Countries and populations, even in poor countries, have capital worth that dwarfs that of corporations.

  14. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge
    Trollface

    The Musk simps are out in force on this one.

    Between those who don't understand HOW unions work, and those that desperately simp for ole musky.... this comments section has been very painful to read today.

    It's not usually this bad, but the wilfully ignorant have been out in force today. I suspect that as soon as anything muskrat related gets published a rallying cry goes out on shitter for the masses to assemble to defend his honour.

    But it is fun seeing them downvoted to oblivion whilst complaining about the downvotes and how they're misunderstood or victimised, or that they're basically saying the same thing as the people they're arguing against (they're not and they can't understand why they're not)

    Then seeing those same sad little simps desperately trying to downvote everyone who dares to disagree with their simping... and unhappy that they're simply outnumbered.... so they start slinging what they think are insults like 'left wing' or 'woke' or 'liberal' and all of the variations of things like that... You know... things they think are insults but are actually positive things that make others just better, kinder, more empathetic with the rest of society in general... and they can't understand that because all they know is greed, selfishness, taking and never giving... because that's what they worship, and that's why they're such sad little simps for billionaires.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Musk simps are out in force on this one.

      those Musk fanboys you've described just don't like the exercise of free speech

      1. ericbab

        Re: The Musk simps are out in force on this one.

        I think they do, a downvote isn't a expression of not wanting free speach it's a expression of disagreement, Europeans are very sensitive to free speach and want it suppressed cause they can't handle Good ideas in a open honest and sometimes fiery debait, which is why there isn't a single european social media company worth anything

  15. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Amazing how many people here actually defend or champion Elon, the guy who has yet again said that workers shouldnt have any rights of any kind.

    WHy do these people think Elon is their friend in any way and following this example is a good thing for them personally ?

    GO NO, SE, DK.

  16. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Also Finland

    Also in Finland has a transport union joined in the same manner as in Denmark.

    I hope one of the end results is that less Teslas will be sold in the Nordic countries.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also Finland

      Could be good for the environment too.

      I have not heard about other brands of EVs going up in flames, but Teslas appear to have cornered the market in this to the point that some housing associations I know no longer allow any to be parked in underground car parks.

      I wonder if anyone has researched just how much of a climate impact is had from a self-immolating Tesla.

      1. ericbab

        Re: Also Finland

        hmmm the statistics are crazy,

        Only 23 fires were reported in electric vehicles in 2022 making up just 0.004% of Sweden’s fleet of 611,000 EVs.

        In contrast, over the same period, some 3,400 fires we reported in 2022 from Sweden’s 4.4 million petrol and diesel cars representing 0.08% of the fossil car fleet.

        20 times less likely 0_o

        As well as 393 verified fires worldwide, the EV Firesafe database includes 74 incidents that are being investigated and 21 that have not been verified.

        A 2020 Tesla internal report (not verified independently) suggested there was one Tesla fire for every 205 million miles (330 million kilometres) travelled. The Tesla report notes National Fire Protection Association data for the United States showed a much higher rate of one fire for every 19 million miles (30.6 million kilometres).

  17. t245t

    The right to demand a collective agreement ?

    What happens to people who don't subscribe to this “collective agreement” ?

    --

    There was onetime a manufacturing company that the union had a veto on a new machine being brought onto the floor. Because the machine would take away jobs from workers, who did the job manually. Eventually management got fed-up, shut-down the factory and moved production to Eastern Europe. Two thousand people lost their job overnight.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: The right to demand a collective agreement ?

      @t245t

      A link about that company please.

      This is not to claim unions never make misstakes, the do at times naturally depending on how you look at it. Working against automation is not common however.

    2. Daniel Nebdal

      Re: The right to demand a collective agreement ?

      This is Nordic Model unions, so the agreement sets the minimum pay and benefits for everyone in the company, including the non-members.

  18. MachDiamond Silver badge

    More fun being piled on

    The union workers in surrounding countries are refusing to facilitate Elon's end run around the workers in Sweden refusing to move Tesla product.

    The problem, Elon, is not going to be solved with a better shovel that allows you to dig faster"

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: More fun being piled on

      What else would we expect from someone so... boring.

      BA DUMP BA!

  19. martinusher Silver badge

    Funny Old World

    Normally if there's a dispute that involves a union you read all sorts of copy mentioning 'union bosses' and how much money those union people earn ("its unfair") and so on.Even when its just people trying to organize at a grocery store or a Starbucks or something its Pure Evil menacing the right of workers to be union free. Then it involves Tesla and so Elon Musk and suddenly union people are heroes. The media is even condoning secondary action, something that was outlawed way back in the 80s in the UK.

    Make up your minds, folks.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Funny Old World

      You're masterful ability of conflation is stunning. Just stunning.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Funny Old World

      The media is even condoning secondary action, something that was outlawed way back in the 80s in the UK.

      Yes, well, the UK is always at the vanguard of cap doffing and forelock tugging. If only all countries could be the same, eh?

    3. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Funny Old World

      Secondary action is not illegal in the countries where it is happening (why would UK law have any bearing on Swedish law?). And it is not the kind of secondary action that occurred in the UK. In this dispute, the workers at other companies are refusing to handle business specifically for Tesla. They are not refusing to attend work at their employers. All post in Sweden is being delivered, except for specific post from Tesla; all vehicles are being unloaded at Danish docks.. except for vehicles made by Tesla. See a pattern? The workers at other employers are joining in a dispute against Tesla, while continuing to perform the rest of their duties.

      This is a big difference to what happened in the UK, where a single union would call all of its members out on strike, even those in workplaces where no dispute existed. They did this for leverage, to make their localised labour dispute into a national political issue, and so force the government into taking a side in the dispute. The major difference in the Nordic countries is that there is a long-standing principle that the government never gets involved in labour disputes, so unions have nothing to gain from blanket action except unpopularity. On the other hand, narrowly-focused secondary action, like this case, gives even small groups of workers a much stronger hand than they’d have alone, but most importantly, it keeps the unions on the right side of public opinion.

  20. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Lords and peasants...

    I imagine Musk in his own head has awarded himself a title of nobilty. Letters patent... patent lunacy.

    If KCIII were to make him Earl of Dogging or somesuch one US constitutional amendment might finally be ratified.

    A less aristrocatic and more ignoble creature is hard to imagine.

    I have never read that any of Musk's enterprises were notable for a flatter than usual managment structure - probably even more feudal than the average US corporation.

    I have no problen with Musk, in his own words, saving the planet so long as that planet is Mars (or Mongol.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lords and peasants...

      Isn't there a law in the USA stating that getting any title of nobility implies losing the US citizenship?

      (not sure if it applies to Lord Mayor...)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Work practices accepted by some gullible Americans won't be tolerated in Europe. Tesla won't win this one.

  22. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Blimey! I found a hole in my sock this morning and, having read this thread, I believe like everything else it appears to have been a direct result of Musky's manufacturing practices and capitalist attitudes.

    What's next? Is my tea going to cool by radiative heat transfer to his cold, cold heart? ... It is! It is! Scientific proof!

  23. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
    Go

    Det är jävla rolig

    Sitting back with a large helping of popcorn.

    My money is on the unions winning.

    Always amusing when people falsely assume that the Anglo-Saxon-World (i.e. US & to most extents the UK) conditions apply globally.

    It'll be interesting also to see what happens in the mid-term at Tesla's plant in Germany.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Det är jävla rolig

      Yeah. I can’t help thinking Musk insisted on having a factory in Germany for no reason other than a desire to say that Tesla were making “German cars”, and had no idea of how manufacturing is organised in Germany - a country where union representation on company boards is commonplace; a country where, one Thursday afternoon in a week where I’d had to put in two long days to fix an issue, I was told to leave the office immediately because I’d exceeded the working time limit.

      Funny how the good employers are the ones that produce the highest quality cars, isn’t it? The simple truth is that you cannot get any kind of high-quality manufacturing without employee buy-in. Treat your line staff like drones, and they will return that contempt by doing the absolute minimum to keep themself employed. This is why Musk is so in love with robotics, but robots are a dead end. Robots don’t find problems, they just repeat what you told them to do, and the key to quality is giving your workers the confidence and authority to find problems with the process and fix them.

      1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

        Re: Det är jävla rolig

        Agreed, I think he'll be having another shock in the not too distant future. While there are differences, Germany's employment laws and culture is much closer to the Nordic model than say the UK for example, to speak nothing of the US.

        Some of my favourite German rules:

        * Full pay (upto 6 weeks per illness) when you're sick

        * If you get sick whilst on booked days off, you can reclaim your holiday allowance for the days you were ill.

        * The workplace accident insurance also covers you for your journey to and from work (as long as a direct route).

        * For the Yanks: Minimum 4 weeks payed holiday per year (plus public holidays), 5 weeks + is typical.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Det är jävla rolig

          American workers:

          No paid time off for anything. Lucky to get one week vacation. But not paid. Maybe two weeks after years of service. Still not paid. Overpriced "insurance" with very high deductible as to make it useless. Long term illness? You're fired. NO pension unless government worker.

          And that just for starters.

          Americans are, well, boot licking morons.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Det är jävla rolig

            @ecofeco

            No I don't agree with talking about "boot licking morons", that is just silly.

            The great majority of Americans are all for affordable healthcare and education and housing for all but they just don't seem to understand it's possible in the world's richest country for reasons I really don't mentally understand.

            Claiming stupidity on the individual level is not helpfull.

            Kids are not born stupid in any country, but the system might leave them stuck in lack of knowledge,

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Det är jävla rolig

              "The great majority of Americans are all for affordable healthcare"

              Most Americans would settle for affordable health insurance but they won't get that until the cost of healthCARE is reigned in, which won't happen until the courts stop awarding millions of dollar for things such as "undue and unjust pain during childbirth" because the attending doctor was concerned administering drugs in that case do to what they were seeing.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Det är jävla rolig

        "This is why Musk is so in love with robotics, but robots are a dead end."

        Elon also thinks of the humanoid form when he hears "robot". We humans find it a useful form for general purpose applications, but industrial robots built to a purpose are far more efficient. One of the trade shows I like to visit is for manufacturing equipment and the variety of robots is amazing to watch. If you need one to arrange things a particular way round, they have that. If you need one to pick up parts and place them neatly in a box, there are those as well. The thing is that they are often in different forms depending on the intended function(s). Nobody seems to be offering a one-size-fits-all robot in the way that Elon seems to be pursuing. A general purpose robot in an industrial setting is next to useless. Tesla is making one type of car all day long on a given production line. There's no need for jack of all trades robot that can be re-programmed in an instant to do a different task.

  24. Paul 195
    Facepalm

    How can anyone be on Elon's side?

    Elon thinks he can ignore laws because he is special.

    When someone who isn't a billionaire does this we call them a psychopath and lock them up.

    Apparently, when Elon does this hundreds of fan boys rush to say he's great and everyone should do what he says.

    Newsflash for fanboys: Elon doesn't care about you anymore than he cares about his workers' well-being.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: How can anyone be on Elon's side?

      Stans (fanbois) always think they are special.

  25. HandleBaz

    Anglo navelgazing

    Wow do you lot have no idea how unions work in Scandinavia.

    Nor do Mr. Musk, or he would have joined SAF.

    The collective bargaining isn't between workers at a company and a union, it's between the employer interest organizations and the employee unions.

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Anglo navelgazing

      Mr Musk ?

      Wow America has really brainwashed you well... Mr mr mr...for ceos because we all know they are gods right ?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like