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UPDATE 2-Swedish court sides with Tesla over blocked licence plates - Aftonbladet

(Rewrites with report on court's decision, quotes)

By Marie Mannes and Johan Ahlander

STOCKHOLM, Nov 27 (Reuters) - A court in Sweden ruled on Monday the country's transport authority must find a way to get licence plates to Tesla that are being blocked by postal workers, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

The decision comes hours after the U.S. electric car maker sued the agency and state-run PostNord because postal workers had stopped delivering plates for its new cars.

PostNord workers on Nov. 20 joined industrial action aimed at forcing Tesla to sign a collective bargain agreement for mechanics in Sweden, and the transport agency refused to deliver the plates by other means, saying it was contractually bound to use PostNord.

However, Norrkoping district court ruled the agency must get the plates to Tesla within seven days or pay a fine of 1 million Swedish crowns ($95,000).

"It is correct that a decision has been made, siding with Tesla's claim," Johannes Ericsson, Tesla's lawyer, told Aftonbladet.

The district court, transport agency, Tesla and its lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The ruling is the latest twist in a battle between Tesla and labour groups in Sweden. Union IF Metall put mechanics on strike on Oct. 27, refusing to service Tesla's cars because the company would not accept collective bargaining.

Members of other unions, including dockworkers, electricians and cleaners have since taken action in sympathy.

Tesla has a policy of not signing collective bargaining agreements and says its employees have as good, or better, terms than those demanded by IF Metall. The union says it is vital to the Swedish labour market model that all companies have collective agreements.

Tesla, in its court filing, called the transport agency's decision not to let it pick up the licence plates "a unique attack on a company operating in Sweden".

Seko, the union that organised the PostNord workers, told Reuters an easy solution for Tesla was to sign the collective bargaining agreement with IF Metall.

"We see this as a sign that they have not been able to circumvent our sympathy notice," its spokesperson said.

($1 = 10.4988 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Marie Mannes, Johan Ahlander and Louise Breusch Rasmussen Editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Potter)

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