Danish Union Takes Action Against Tesla in Nordic Solidarity

Swedish Collective Bargaining Strikes Inspire Danes to Block Workaround for Tesla
Tesla vehicles
Tesla vehicles line a parking lot at the company's Fremont, Calif., factory. (Noah Berger/Associated Press)

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The labor conflict against Tesla in Sweden is spreading to neighboring Denmark where transport workers with the country’s largest trade union said Dec. 5 they will take action in solidarity with Swedish workers against 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 has several service centers.

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 dockworkers blocked the reception of Tesla cars there.

“Concretely, this means that dockworkers 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 harbor through which Tesla cars arrive by ship.


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“So as of Dec. 20, we will not drive their cars off board, as we usually do,” Lykke told the daily. It likely will 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.”

“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 labor market in the Nordics, and you have to comply with them if you want to do business here,” Villadsen said.

On Oct. 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 automaker.

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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 license plates of new vehicles manufactured by the Texas-based automaker.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter, the social media platform he owns, that it was “insane” that Swedish postal workers were refusing to deliver license plates for new vehicles.