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Danish union to take action against Tesla in solidarity with Swedes
5 December 2023, 10:54
Workers are demanding a collective bargaining agreement.
The labour conflict against Tesla in Sweden is spreading to Denmark, where transport workers with the country’s biggest trade union said they will take action against the carmaker in solidarity with Swedish workers.
Tesla is non-unionised globally, but Swedish workers are demanding that Elon Musk’s Texas-based firm signs a collective bargaining agreement, which most employees in Sweden have.
Tesla has no manufacturing plant in Sweden, but operates several service centres.
The United Federation of Workers in Denmark, known in Danish as 3F, said there had been speculation that Tesla would deliver its cars to Danish ports and transport them on trucks to Sweden after Swedish dock workers blocked the reception of Tesla cars there.
“Concretely, this means that dock workers and drivers will not receive and transport Tesla’s cars going to Sweden,” 3F said in a statement.
“With the sympathy action, that model is no longer possible.”
Jakob Lykke, local head of 3F Transport in Esbjerg, on Denmark’s west coast, told the regional Jydske Vestkysten daily that Denmark’s fifth largest town is the only the harbour through which Tesla cars arrive by ship.
“So as of December 20, we will not drive their cars off board, as we usually do,” Mr Lykke told the newspaper. This will likely also affect the Danish market.
The head of 3F, Jan Villadsen, said that it was “putting further pressure on Tesla. We naturally hope that they will come to the negotiating table as soon as possible and sign an agreement”.
In reference to Mr Musk, he added: “Although you are one of the richest people in the world, you can’t just make your own rules. We have some agreements on the labour market in the Nordics, and you have to comply with them if you want to do business here.”
On October 27, 130 members of Sweden’s powerful metalworkers’ union IF Metall walked out at seven workshops across the country where the popular electric cars are serviced, demanding a collective bargaining agreement.
Swedish mechanics stopped servicing Tesla cars and several unions, including postal workers, have joined in a wave of solidarity with IF Metall’s demands. Dockworkers at Sweden’s four largest ports also stopped the delivery of Tesla vehicles to put more pressure on the carmaker.
Last month, Tesla filed a lawsuit against the Swedish state via Sweden’s Transport Agency when postal workers in the Scandinavian country halted the delivery of licence plates of new vehicles manufactured by the Tesla.
Tesla chief executive Mr Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter, the social media platform he owns, that it was “insane” that Swedish postal workers were refusing to deliver licence plates for new vehicles.