AutosScandinavia confronts Tesla: The situation spirals out of control

Scandinavia confronts Tesla: The situation spirals out of control

Teslas were grounded in Sweden, the rest of Scandinavia joins the strike.
Teslas were grounded in Sweden, the rest of Scandinavia joins the strike.
Images source: © Getty Images | Bloomberg

6:19 PM EST, December 11, 2023

Firstly, it was Sweden, followed by Finland, and gradually other Scandinavian countries. The strike against Tesla has escalated tremendously, and it doesn't indicate any signs of settling soon.

Employees of the Swedish trade union, IF Metall, initiated a strike against Tesla on October 27, 2023, demanding collective negotiations about new contracts from the company. The protest began within a few harbors, refusing to handle Tesla vehicles. Allegedly under direct orders from Elon Musk, Tesla's inflexibility led to a swift escalation of the situation.

The number of striking ports grew, with union members from other sectors soon joining in. Interestingly, postal workers were most defiant, ceasing to issue license plates to Tesla owners in Sweden, effectually grounding new Tesla vehicles.

Instead of choosing to negotiate, Tesla fueled the conflict by suing PostNord Sverige, the Swedish postal operator. However, on December 7, news revealed that the manufacturer lost the lawsuit, giving a green signal for the strike to continue. This development precipitated a chain reaction.

Almost in an instance after the verdict was announced, Finland's trade union endorsed the strike. This was the final Nordic country to join the protest. On December 5, Denmark announced a port blockade against Tesla, and by the next day, Norwegian workers had stalled deliveries. Only Iceland's participation is now awaited to complete the set.

Tesla seems to be at an impasse. What commenced from non-compliance at four Swedish ports has now snowballed into a paralysis of a key European region for the American company. Major investors from Norway and Denmark have expressed their worries and are appealing to Musk and Co., emphasizing the workers' right to collective bargaining.

"We expect our investments to respect fundamental human rights, including workers' rights. In 2022, we supported a proposal from other Tesla shareholders where we asked the company to establish a policy of respecting the right to organize," Norges Bank Investment Management, the 7th largest shareholder of Tesla, said in a statement to Reuters.
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