Tesla's Latest Lawsuit Targets Swedish Postal Workers

Automaker says that striking postal workers in Scandinavian nation are delaying license plates
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 28, 2023 11:15 AM CST
Tesla's Latest Lawsuit Targets Swedish Postal Workers
Tesla vehicles line a parking lot at the company's Fremont, California, factory, on Sept. 18.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Tesla on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Swedish state via Sweden's Transport Agency as striking postal workers in the Scandinavian country halted the delivery of license plates of new vehicles manufactured by the Texas-based automaker. Tesla is nonunionized globally, but the Swedish workers are demanding that the carmaker sign a collective bargaining agreement, which most employees in Sweden have. Tesla has no manufacturing plant in Sweden, but it has several service centers. Tesla said it was suing because not accessing the registration plates "constitutes an unlawful discriminatory attack directed at Tesla." Mikael Andersson, a press spokesperson for the agency, told the AP in an email that "we at the Swedish Transport Agency do not share this view" that the agency was blocking the distribution of license plates.

"Therefore Tesla has decided to have the issue tested in court, which is their right," noted Andersson, who added that the agency hadn't yet seen Tesla's complaint. According to the lawsuit, Tesla demands that the district court fine the agency about $95,000 to "oblige" it to allow Tesla to "retrieve license plates" within three days from notification of the district court's decision. The lawsuit was handed in on Monday. Tesla said that the agency has "a constitutional obligation to provide license plates to vehicle owners," adding that the fact that the license plates are withheld "cannot be described in any other way than as a unique attack on a company operating in Sweden." The trade union ST, whose members work for the postal and delivery service PostNord, said they were blocking the delivery of mail and packages to Tesla in accordance with the rules of the Swedish labor market.

By going to court, Tesla "shows that they do not accept the rules that prevail" in Sweden, Asa Erba Stenhammar of the ST trade union said. On Oct. 27, 130 members of the 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 sympathy 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 automaker. Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on his X social media platform that it was "insane" that Swedish postal workers were refusing to deliver license plates for new vehicles. More here.

(More Tesla stories.)

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