Tesla Files Lawsuit Against Swedish State in Bid to Avoid Union Action

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Tesla has filed a lawsuit against the Swedish state in an effort to avoid disruptions caused by strikes and union activities that have greatly affected its operations in Sweden.

The car manufacturer is taking legal action against the Swedish Transport Agency to be able to directly obtain registration plates for new vehicles, instead of having them delivered by post. Postal workers have been obstructing deliveries as a show of solidarity with striking Tesla mechanics, a move that Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has criticized as “insane.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Norrköping district court, demands that “the registration plates for the vehicles that Tesla owns…come into Tesla’s possession,” according to a copy reviewed by the Financial Times.

This legal action represents Tesla’s growing frustration with the Swedish strike and the expanding number of sympathetic actions taken by other workers, which are significantly impacting the electric-car maker’s business in the country.

Last month, around 130 mechanics in Sweden, affiliated with the IF Metall union, went on strike after Tesla rejected their request for collective bargaining.

Swedish unions argue that Tesla should enter into a collective agreement, which is the norm for almost all businesses in the country, allowing wages and working conditions to be collectively negotiated between unions and employer organizations.

Postal workers, cleaners, and dockworkers have all joined the strikes and have refused to work with the US-based company, further complicating Tesla’s operations in Sweden.

Musk has been a vocal opponent of unionization and has successfully avoided collective bargaining in its global operations, even in Germany where it has a factory.

Although Tesla does not have manufacturing operations in Sweden, the impact of the strike is being felt, as a factory that produces parts for Tesla halted production in solidarity with the strikes.

Unlike in many other countries, such sympathetic actions are permitted in Sweden.

The Swedish Transport Agency, which has a contract with PostNord (partially owned by the Swedish government) for all mail deliveries, has stated that it cannot use an alternative company to send the registrations plates as requested by Tesla.

Tesla has labeled these actions as “a discriminatory attack” and “deeply damaging,” and has filed the lawsuit claiming that PostNord’s actions are “targeted and unlawful.” The Swedish Transport Agency has stated that it does not share Tesla’s perspective.

Seko, the Swedish trade union that includes postal workers, sees the lawsuit as a sign that Tesla has not been able to evade their sympathy action, and suggests that signing a collective agreement with IF Metall would resolve the issue.

The lawsuit was initially reported by Swedish daily Dagens Industri. PostNord and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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