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Scandinavia against Tesla. Starting with the powerful Norwegian Sovereign Fund. The contagion of the trade union struggle started over a month ago from the ports of Sweden, then spread to Denmark, Norway and, lastly, to Finland. Workers from different sectors are all in solidarity with the 130 metalworkers from seven Swedish workshops who are calling for a contract based on collective bargaining, covering fundamental rights, such as pay levels and working hours. Blasphemous proposal for the least unionized car manufacturer in the Western world, which has always claimed to offer its employees even better conditions. In and around Sweden they don’t think so.
And so Elon Musk, who called this impasse “crazy”, finds himself facing a profound crisis in a region that is among the most likely in the world to embrace the cause of the electric car. Suffice it to say that in Norway, a market that is still small (less than 200 thousand cars per year) and undergoing a clear contraction in 2023, the internal combustion engine is now a panda among new registrations: only 9% including hybrids, with petrol at 1% and diesel at 2. Manufacturers are gradually starting to only sell cars on tap, which represent 91% of purchases.
The latest bad blow for Tesla came on Thursday, after a first round victory: a Swedish court informed the Texan manufacturer that the stop imposed by the union protest on the shipment of license plates will not be revoked, pending the final decision on the case. This effectively translates into the freezing of car deliveries to customers in Tesla’s fifth largest market in Europe. In 2022, the Austin-based company sold around 35 thousand cars in the area: 21 thousand in Norway (15% of the electric market), 9,200 in Sweden (10%), 3 thousand in Denmark (10%), 1,700 in Finland (11 ,7%). Of course, during the first three quarters Tesla sold 1.3 million cars worldwide, more than in all of 2022.
In any case, according to the court, Tesla did not provide sufficiently convincing arguments “to explain why the company would suffer harm from the failure to deliver these packages” before the conclusion of the case, the court said in a statement. Postal workers refuse to deliver Tesla goods in solidarity with the mechanics who have been striking since October to see common rights and protections recognized in the Scandinavian country.
In Finland, the transport workers’ union has decided to apply the embargo in all ports of the country starting from December 20, after the Swedish unions asked their Nordic colleagues to join the solidarity actions. “It is a crucial part of the Nordic labor market model that we have collective agreements and that unions support each other,” said Ismo Kokko, president of the Finnish union.