Sweden court rules against Tesla amid fight with Nordic unions
Interim ruling allows postal workers to continue blocking deliveries of licence plates to Tesla in support of unions
Stockholm — Tesla lost a legal battle with Sweden’s postal service on Thursday as a fight with Nordic trade unions escalates.
A Swedish court said PostNord does not for the time being need to deliver licence plates to Tesla that are being blocked by the postal service’s workers, in the latest twist in a fight over collective bargaining agreements.
Tesla is facing growing pressure in Sweden, Norway and Denmark from unions backing Swedish IF Metall’s mechanics who went on strike on October 27 demanding a collective agreement with the company.
Nordic states are a key market for Tesla, which has a policy of not agreeing to collective bargaining and has said its staff have as good or better terms than those IF Metall is demanding.
A large Danish pension fund said on Thursday it had sold its holdings in Tesla over its refusal to enter into such deals.
"We sold our Tesla shares on December 6, when they had a market value of 476-million Danish crowns," ($68.9m) PensionDanmark said by email, referring to the country’s kronor currency.
The court’s decision on Thursday comes after Tesla sued PostNord as workers stopped delivering plates for its new cars in a sympathy strike, and is an interim decision ahead of the court’s final ruling.
"The district court has decided that PostNord should not be forced make deliveries to Tesla before the case is closed," the Solna district court said in a statement.
Dockworkers, drivers, electricians and cleaners are other workers who refuse, or are threatening to refuse, to service Tesla in sympathy with IF Metall.
Seko, the union that organised the PostNord workers behind the sympathy strike, welcomed the court’s latest decision.
"It’s about the Swedish collective agreement model, and there is a consensus on it, both politically and between the parties in the labour market, Seko president Gabriella Lavecchia said by email, calling for Tesla to sign the collective agreement with IF Metall.
PostNord told Swedish newsagency TT it was satisfied with the court’s intermediate verdict but emphasised its neutrality in the matter.
"We have a mission as a provider of the universal postal service, and we take that very seriously. However, it is not our job to review which agreements other companies enter into," company spokesperson Henrik Ishihara told TT.
In 2022, Norway was Tesla’s fourth-biggest market by number of new car sales. Sweden was its fifth-biggest and Tesla’s Model Y is the most sold car in Sweden this year.
In a case related to the PostNord one, a court on November 27 ruled that Sweden’s transport authority must find a way to get licence plates to Tesla. The agency has appealed the decision.
Some Swedish pension funds have also urged Tesla to sign the agreement with the union, but so far held off selling its shares.
Tesla and IF Metall did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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