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Tesla Service Center in Sweden

Photo: Jessica Gow / EPA

U.S. carmaker Tesla filed two lawsuits against the Swedish state on Monday. The focus is on the Swedish Transport Authority, which sends the license plates for new vehicles to Tesla by mail. Postal workers joined the strike movement last week and have since refused to deliver letters and parcels to the electric car manufacturer.

The company has now applied to the Norrköping District Court to oblige the Swedish authorities to ensure that the license plates "return to Tesla's ownership." Tesla is also demanding a fine of one million crowns (around 87,000 euros) if the transport authority fails to enforce it.

In another lawsuit, Tesla is asking the court in Solna to oblige the postal company Postnord to return the license plates. Postnord is owned by the Swedish and Danish governments.

The industrial union IF Metall wants to enforce a collective bargaining agreement at Tesla in Sweden and initially called on around 130 employees in ten Tesla workshops to take industrial action at the end of October. Since then, the strike has expanded: In November, 470 workers in workshops repairing cars from different manufacturers followed, as well as workers in four ports that blocked the loading of Tesla vehicles.

In the meantime, a total of nine other trade unions have announced their own measures in solidarity with IF Metall. Collective agreements are the basis of the Swedish labour market model. Almost 90 percent of all employees have a collective bargaining agreement. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly rejected calls for workers to unionize.