Danish labour union joins Swedish strike action against Tesla

COPENHAGEN,  (Reuters) – Danish dockworkers and lorry drivers have stopped unloading and transporting Tesla (TSLA.O) cars destined for Sweden as Danish labour union 3F on Wednesday joined Swedish mechanics in their strike action against Tesla.

Tesla is facing a backlash from unions and some pension funds in the Nordic region as the U.S. carmaker refuses to accept a demand from Swedish mechanics for collective bargaining rights covering wages and other conditions.

“We can’t allow one man or one company to come and say, I want to do this in another way, you need to change your system. If you want to be here, you’re very welcome, but you have to follow the rules,” said Jan Villadsen, chairman of 3F Transport.

3F announced the sympathy action on Dec. 5, addressing speculation that Tesla had started shipping cars to Sweden through Danish ports following Swedish dockworkers joining the dispute.

“We know that some cars have come through Denmark, we don’t know how many but some, we know also that from today there is not one coming,” Villadsen said.

Villadsen thinks the conflict with the Nordic unions will last until an agreement is reached with Tesla, he told Reuters, adding:

“I’ve been in this game for more than 25 years, and I’ve never seen a strike that didn’t end with an agreement. All strikes end with an agreement”.

The sympathy action will only affect Tesla cars meant for Sweden. The transport of Tesla cars for Danish customers will remain unaffected, Villadsen told Reuters.

Dansk Metal, a union representing mechanics in Denmark, has not joined the sympathy action but told Reuters that they are coordinating with unions in other countries and are in talks with Tesla and mechanics working for Tesla in Denmark.

“We will not say 100% that we are going to strike, because right now, we are in the process of gathering international forces, and that is what we believe is the strongest tool for us,” René Nielsen, Vice Chairman at Dansk Metal said.

Dansk Metal is especially working towards getting unions in Germany to join, Nielsen said. Tesla has 11,000 workers in Gruenheide, near Berlin.

Reporting by Johannes Birkebaek and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Toby Chopra