Tesla’s journey in Germany hits a speed bump as concerns grow among its Brandenburg plant workers, leading many to join the IG Metall union. What’s causing this sudden move? A combination of health, safety, and overwork concerns, according to the union’s recent statement.
Behind the Union Drive
“Speed is not compatible with safety,” a 56-year-old worker from Poland remarked. He painted a picture of a work environment where targets seem unreachable due to a shortage of staff, leading to a compromising of safety. He wasn’t alone in voicing concerns.
Reports from the union suggest a high rate of accidents, with an alarming 30% of workers often signed off sick. Reuters stated that this data wasn’t independently verified by the news organization, and Tesla remained silent, not providing immediate comments when approached.
On Monday, union representatives took a proactive approach, meeting workers at various points — from factory gates to nearby train platforms. Their message was simple, advocating for “safe and fair work at Tesla”. They even distributed stickers to drive home their point.
This rise in union popularity didn’t go unnoticed by Tesla’s management. An email invitation seen by Reuters revealed a meeting organized by Tesla managers, offering “free food and a surprise.” Their objective? To discuss the IG Metall union’s presence and intentions, hinting at the union’s “questionable methods.”
A Worker’s Perspective
Reuters took the initiative to engage with twelve workers from the Brandenburg plant. The feedback was mixed — while four workers felt satisfied, the other eight expressed dissatisfaction, citing high work pressures. Some even highlighted the increased frequency of accidents and challenges in receiving overtime pay.
One worker encapsulated the sentiment, stating that if the situation didn’t improve, he’d be looking for a new job next year. The freedom to voice concerns was not universal, though. Two workers mentioned restrictions against speaking to the media.
Dirk Schulze of IG Metall chimed in on the ongoing situation: “The law gives all workers the right to organise in a union and stand openly for that at their workplace. That counts at Tesla in Brandenburg as well.”
The union refrained from disclosing specific membership numbers, but it did acknowledge a significant surge in Tesla workers joining their ranks.
Tesla’s work culture in Germany is under scrutiny. While the carmaker is known for its cutting-edge technology and innovation, it seems there’s room for improvement in worker welfare. As the situation unfolds, the world watches closely.