Tesla has lost a legal action against Sweden’s postal service as a dispute between Nordic unions escalates.
A Swedish court said on Thursday that PostNord did not, at the time, need to hand over license plates to the electric car maker that were being blocked by postal service workers, in the latest twist in the battle over collective bargaining agreements.
Tesla, which is run by billionaire Elon Musk, is facing intense pressure in Sweden, Norway and Denmark from unions supporting IF Metall mechanics in Sweden which went on strike on October 27, demanding a collective agreement with the company.
Denmark’s biggest pension fund on Wednesday said it would sell its shares in Tesla because the carmaker refused to enter into the deals, while Denmark’s main trade union joined a strike by the company’s workers in Sweden.
The court decision on Thursday came after Tesla sued PostNord over its workers’ decision to stop delivering plates for its new cars in a compassionate strike, and is an interim decision before a final decision. The Solna district court said it ruled that PostNord should not be forced to submit to Tesla before the case is closed.
Dock workers, drivers, electricians and cleaners are other workers who refuse, or threaten to refuse, to serve Tesla in sympathy with IF Metall.
The Nordic countries represent important markets for Tesla, which has a policy of not agreeing to collective bargaining and has said its workers have conditions as good or better than those demanded by IF Metall.
Musk said last week: “I don’t agree with the idea of unions. I just don’t like anything that creates a masters-and-peasants type of thing.
Last year, Norway was Tesla’s fourth largest market in terms of new car sales. Sweden was the fifth largest and Tesla’s Model Y has become the best-selling car in Sweden this year.
In a case related to PostNord’s action, the court on 27 November ruled that the Swedish Transport Agency must find a way to obtain license plates for Tesla. The organization has appealed against the decision.
Some Swedish pension funds have urged Tesla to sign an agreement with the union, but have so far refrained from selling their shares.