Tesla Labour Dispute Triggers Nordic Solidarity Strikes 

The labor unions are demanding a collective agreement to provide better wages and benefits for mechanics in Tesla’s repair shop.

Tesla Labour Dispute Triggers Nordic Solidarity Strikes 

Numerous unions from throughout the Nordic region have taken notice of the labor dispute involving Tesla (TSLA.O) and Swedish trade union IF Metall, and they are all pushing the automaker to sign a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

About 130 IF Metall employees went on strike on October 27, which prompted dockworkers, cleaners, and auto dealerships to go on sympathy strikes in support of the affected workers.

In sharp contrast to the United States, where sympathy strikes are basically illegal, sympathy strikes are frequently allowed in the Nordic countries.

Following a three-month strike that was joined by sympathy strikes and blockades, American toy business Toys "R" Us and its 130 Swedish workers concluded a collective agreement in the 1990s.

An outline of various activities that could potentially disrupt Tesla's supply chain in Sweden, where 16,412 new Tesla Model Y automobiles were registered in 2023, is shown below. These efforts are putting additional pressure on the company.

In November, the Swedish Transport Workers' Union made a commitment to prevent Tesla vehicles from being loaded or unloaded from any ports in the country. A dockworkers' union also said that as of November 17, it will not handle Tesla vehicles in Swedish harbors.

The union for service and communications workers, Seko, began a blockade on November 20 of logistics companies PostNord and CityMail delivering and picking up mail and packages at Tesla's Swedish offices. This prevented the EV manufacturer from obtaining license plates from the country's transportation authorities.

As of November 21, the Swedish and Danish state-owned PostNord union announced that its members will no longer be delivering goods to Tesla.

A union representing painters threatened to cease painting Tesla vehicles, while electricians pledged in November to stop electrical repair work at Tesla facilities and charging points.

On November 17, the Building Maintenance Workers' Union (BMWU) suspended all operations pertaining to the automaker, and on the same day, another BMWU branch promised to cease construction and maintenance at the Tesla service workshops.

On December 29, the union representing transportation workers stopped gathering trash from Tesla's Swedish workshops.

Additionally, as stated on December 14, the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union Kommunal suspended waste collection from Tesla's plants in Mölndal and Örebro as of January 2. It also intends to prevent other service companies from collecting rubbish.

On November 24, unionized employees of Hydro Extrusions, a division of the Norwegian aluminum and energy corporation Hydro (NHY.OL), halted production of Tesla automobile components. The laborers belong to IF Metall.

On November 14, the Swedish Musicians' Union announced that it would remove some songs from the Tesla vehicles' media systems.

Tesla has been advised to sign the union deal by several Swedish pension funds, but they have refrained from selling shares thus far.


 The biggest private sector labor union in Norway declared on December 6 that unless the automaker and IF Metall could come to an agreement, it would begin to obstruct Tesla transit shipments intended for the Swedish market on December 20.

The union did not specify the precise actions it might take, just stating that it intended to send a "clear signal to Tesla" and take whatever necessary steps to ensure that any car shipments via Norway to Sweden were halted.



The Danish Dockworkers' Union declared on December 5 that it would not transport or unload Tesla vehicles for Swedish clients.

One of the biggest pension funds in Denmark, PensionDanmark, announced on December 6 that it has chosen to sell its shares in Tesla due to the company's reluctance to reach agreements with labor unions.


The Finnish Transport Workers' Union announced on December 7 that starting on December 20, its dockers will not load Tesla cars and parts bound for Sweden in any of Finland's ports.

Elon Musk, the CEO of the massive electric vehicle company Tesla, who is known for being anti-union, is battling with Swedish workers and is facing difficulties amid the outpouring of sympathy. Ten Swedish unions have so far taken industrial action against Tesla after more than two months of strikes, the first of its kind worldwide. The pressure is mounting.

A collective agreement to improve wages and benefits for mechanics working in Tesla repair shops was the main point of contention in the initial disagreement between Tesla and the Swedish industrial union IF Metall. Since October 27th, Swedish union members have been on strike.