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Tesla sues Swedish Transport Agency over license plate dispute

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Tesla sued the Swedish Transport Agency on Monday over a postal workers’ strike that blocked delivery of license plates for Tesla cars, the latest escalation in a growing battle between Swedish unions and the U.S. electric vehicle maker.

A month ago, mechanics at seven Tesla-owned repair shops in Sweden walked off the job. Since then, hundreds of workers from other industries across the country have joined the effort to get Tesla to sign a collective bargaining agreement with mechanics union IF Metall.

Dockers, electricians, painters and postal workers all joined the strike, refusing to provide their services to the company. Last week, around fifty metalworkers at a factory that produces aluminum parts for the Tesla factory in Germany walked off the job.

On November 20, postal workers joined the action, refusing to deliver mail or packages to Tesla facilities, including license plates.

This prompted Elon Musk, the automaker’s chief executive, to denounce the widespread problem “crazy” strikes in an article on X, formerly Twitter – his first public comment on the strikes. Although Sweden is a relatively small market for Tesla and it does not manufacture any cars in the country, the company’s Model Y is one of the best sellers among Swedes.

On Monday, Tesla took legal action, filing complaints against the Transportation Agency, which oversees production of the plates, and postal company PostNord. He argued that Tesla employees should be allowed to collect license plates from the agency, bypassing postal workers.

The agency has a “constitutional obligation to provide license plates to vehicle owners,” Tesla said, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press.

The withholding of license plates “cannot be described as anything other than a unique attack on a company operating in Sweden,” the automaker said in the lawsuit, according to The AP. He asked the district court to fine the agency one million crowns. , or $95,400, unless he allows Tesla to “reclaim the license plates” within three days of the court’s decision.

The transport agency “does not share” Tesla’s view that it is not complying with its obligation to produce license plates for vehicles newly registered in Sweden, agency spokesman Mikael Andersson said. .

But because postal workers have joined the strike targeting Tesla, they are not being delivered, Mr. Andersson said. “Therefore, Tesla has decided to have the matter examined in court, which is its right,” he said.

Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.

Later on Monday, a Swedish media outlet, Aftonbladet, quoted Tesla lawyer Johannes Ericson as saying that the Norrköping District Court had ruled in favor of Tesla on Monday afternoon and ordered the agency to provide the plates . directly to the manufacturer on a provisional basis. Neither the court nor Mr. Ericson responded to requests to confirm the report.

Sweden has a long history of trade unionism and the right to strike is enshrined in the country’s constitution, which also allows a union in one sector to ask unions representing workers in other professions to organize targeted action against a business. Over the past month, hundreds of workers across the country have joined IF Metall to pressure Tesla to come to the negotiating table.

Tesla has resisted unionization efforts by its more than 127,000 employees worldwide.



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