Norwegian transport union threatens to block import of Tesla cars

Tesla’s labor headache is about to get worse.

Norway’s largest private sector union, Fellesforbundet, announced this week it will block the transportation of any Tesla products from that country into Sweden. The union said it’s launching the sympathy strike with Swedish Tesla mechanics because the company threatened the long-established labor conditions of Scandinavia.

“The right to demand a collective agreement is an obvious part of our working life, and we can’t accept that Tesla places itself on the outside,” Fellesforbundet chief Joern Eggum said this week.

The union elaborated that its sympathy strike will begin Dec. 20 if Tesla fails to reach an agreement with IF Metall, the union representing the electric vehicle giant’s striking mechanics.

With Norway joining the fray against Tesla, it seems the labor floodgates have opened in Scandinavia. The Norwegian expansion comes a few days after Danish unions launched their sympathy strike against Tesla.

Earlier this week, Danish transport union 3F said it would also block the transport of Tesla products from its country to Sweden.

Tesla’s labor struggles began in late October when over 120 of Tesla’s mechanics in Sweden voted to unionize with IF Metall. After negotiations failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement, the union launched a strike.

Adjacent Swedish unions soon launched sympathy strikes. Dockworkers there have now blocked the importation of Tesla cars, and the Swedish postal workers union has refused to deliver mail to Tesla facilitates.

Despite a court victory against the mail union, with a judge ruling that the union must deliver license plates to Tesla, the company is in a tricky spot.

As the Scandinavian strikes intensify, the workers are pressuring Tesla to settle and sign an agreement. But if the company signs an agreement with its mechanics, it could signal to the rest of Tesla’s workforce that a deal can be won.

Tesla workers from Germany to California have made moves to unionize in the past, but all have failed. Yet the United Auto Workers have made Tesla a main unionization target.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is standing up against that push. Recently he said he doesn’t want a union at Tesla because it would institute a “lords and peasants” model at the company.

Source: WT