Danish pension funds criticised over Tesla investments

Danish pension funds criticised over Tesla investments
File photo: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Eight Danish pension funds have been criticised after investing over 140 million kroner (19 million euros) in US electric car giant Tesla.

The investments, details of which were published by media Ugebrevet A4, have been censured due to Tesla’s policy of banning unions along with its reputation for low wages and high incidence of workplace accidents, reports news agency Ritzau.

“The way I see it, the pension funds ought to withdraw from a company that oppresses its employees and forbids unions,” job market researcher Henning Jørgensen, a professor at Aalborg University, told Ugebrevet A4.

“This is a question of withdrawing as soon as possible, because unions cannot put money into a company that does not accept the right for workers to organise,” he said.

Kim Simonsen, vice chairperson in the Sampension fund, which has invested 16 million kroner (2.1 milion euros) in Tesla, admitted he was uncomfortable with the investement.

Simonsen is also chairperson of the HK trade union.

“HK members’ pension money should not fund poor working conditions. On the contrary. HK members’ money should be used to pressure Tesla into introducing decent conditions for their employees,” Simonsen said.

PensionDanmark, where members of unions including 3F and Dansk El-Forbunds have their pensions placed, owns shares worth 47 million kroner (6.3 million euros) in Tesla.

PensionDanmark director Jens-Christian Stougaard said that the fund was attempting to put pressure on Tesla.

“In August this year preliminary dialogue was begun on the conditions of employees at Tesla factories and subcontractors,” Stougaard said.

A third pension fund, PenSam, which administers pensions for the FOA union, sold its shares in Tesla earlier this year, citing ethical reasons according to Dennis Kristensen, who is chairperson with both the pension fund and union.

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