Daimler Workers At Engine Plant Worry About EV Future

5 months ago by Sebastian Blanco 71

If anyone is worried about our electric future, it’s the people who build fossil-fuel-powered engines. To wit: the workers at Daimler’s engine plant in Stuttgart, Germany, who are going to slow down their work schedule in protest.

Two years ago, Daimler said it would invest over a billion dollars into the Untertürkheim plant, but it’s the kind of investment that’s causing concern. In 2015, Peter Schabert, head of powertrain production and site manager at the Untertürkheim plant, said in a statement that, “The plant will thus receive investments amounting into the billions over the next few years for the realignment and modernization of our production.”

An analyst for Evercore ISI told Bloomberg, “Especially in Germany, which has limited battery-building know-how and manufacturing capacity, there is a big concern that the transition away from conventional powertrains will cost millions of jobs.”

That has to sound like a dire warning if you’re a worker on the engine line. And so, it’s understandable that these workers say they are going to stop working overtime this month in protest of the new battery investments. The workers and the company have been talking since May about the situation, but apparently Daimler is not offering enough pay commitments to assuage workers’ worries. Daimler responded by saying it needs to compete with battery plants around the world.

Daimler is shifting production to electrified vehicles at many plants. Earlier this year, the company said that its plant in Rastatt, Germany will become the third to build an EQ-branded electric vehicle, alongside Bremen and Sindelfingen. In May, Daimler broke ground for its second gigafactory-like battery plant in Kamenz, Germany, where the automaker will invest 500 million euros (around $569 million U.S.). It’s all part of Daimler’s slow but certain shift to EVs, driven by an effort to reduce overall fleet emissions and stay in compliance with strict regulations.

Source: Bloomberg

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71 responses to "Daimler Workers At Engine Plant Worry About EV Future"

  1. Ocean Railroader says:

    I really wounder if Daimler is trying to cut these workers jobs and outsource them to a low wage county and are blaming the EV’s as a smoke screen so they get the workers mad at the EV’s.

    1. SparkEV says:

      What you wrote sounds just like what Prez Dump would say, like a paranoid socialist: beware of the big, bad corporate bogeyman that will take the job out to lower wage countries.

      1. Mark.ca says:

        Yeah, Sparky…because big corporations never do that! How long till you get moved to China? The problem with “conservatives” is they like open borders but only for corporations…typical.

        1. SparkEV says:

          China… You talk just like Dump. Even the way you say it: Chai-eeeena.

          Unlike “evil monster” propaganda by MS-Socialist-NBC, companies are groups of people. Preventing them from taking the jobs to where ever the hell they please is taking away their freedom. People will still bitch if they kept the work in the country, but automated everything so that they fired everyone.

          1. TomArt says:

            Automation will take longer, providing a means for people to be retrained or transition to something else.

            Outsourcing can happen in the 5 minutes it takes to type the memo to the employees.

            You must have a pretty comfy situation to be so cavalier about other people’s livelihoods by espousing global corporate discretion.

            1. SparkEV says:

              I want the freedom of people to choose what they do with their business. If a memo was signed, it was a person who did it. What leftists don’t realize is that corporations are people, and people’s freedom matter. In effect, corporate freedom is your freedom, because anyone can set up a corporation.

              I’m not being cavalier about anything. People should be free, whether to work for others, setup their own business, fire those who work for them.

              You are the one being cavalier about freedom. I doubt you’d sit still if the government tells you that you cannot fire your gardener, because you decided to do it yourself using machines made in “Chai-eeena”.

              1. SJC says:

                The corporation has the power, only unions had some but they have been destroyed by politicians doing the work for corporations.

                It is the board room who decides who will live and who will die. They were not elected by the people nor the workers, they were appointed by the rich.

                1. SparkEV says:

                  If the boardroom decided to kill and they carried it out, it’d be no different than you deciding to kill and carrying it out: illegal and fully prosecuted under the law.

                  Lots of lefty movies (eg. Robocop) try to portray “corporations” as some evil monster that has no bounds, but that isn’t reality. Corporations are people that must operate under the law, just like you.

          2. Devin Serpa says:

            Corporations don’t have freedoms.

            1. SparkEV says:

              Then people don’t have freedoms, because corporations are just bunch of people.

              1. SJC says:

                Corporations are NOT people, that was a lie made up by the court because it was expedient.

                1. SparkEV says:

                  If corporations are not people, then what are they? Aliens from outer space?

                  Go and set up a corporation for yourself, and you will realize what corporations are: people just like you and me.

                  1. Mark.ca says:

                    Yes, lets….and after that lets make a product that we know will kill someone and see if we can get away with it. There’s not much to see really, we know the verdict. I mean, we paid all the politicians in power to push laws protecting us so when in our advantage we are people when it’s not we are a limited liability organization.
                    Sooner or later you will realize that it’s not republican vs democrat or liberal or any label you come up with….it’s the corporations vs people, 1% vs 99%. I’m not saying anyone is the devil just that we need to have a level playing field. Outlaw lobbying for starters.

          3. Mark.ca says:

            Lol, Sparky…I could not wait for you to make the dumbest argument in history “corporations are people”!
            ….and you fricking did! Wow!

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Yup. Clearly our resident one-percenter class warrior agrees with Mitt Romney, who said “Corporations are people, my friend.”

              But then, what do you expect from Sparky, who has repeatedly described that segment of society who ride city buses as if they’re disease-ridden vermin with disgusting habits who spread filth everywhere?

              No, I’m pretty sure Sparky doesn’t think the working poor, or others living below the poverty line, deserve the same rights he does. He’s very much a member of the group of one-percenters who have managed to rig the financial system, the tax system, and the stock market to divert money from everybody who’s not as rich as they are into their own pockets. And they’ve also managed to convince themselves that they deserve to steal most of the wealth from everybody else, because they are “job creators” who “deserve” to take most of the world’s wealth, even while destroying as many jobs as possible and/or moving them overseas where they can pay workers far less, and claim this is an “improvement” to their business because it’s “more efficient”.

              It is truly amazing how far the one-percenters have been able to warp their thinking, and corrupt true conservatives’ ethical standards, to justify robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

              1. SparkEV says:

                If anyone who’s not government took anything from you, you call the cops and take it back from them. No one other than the government is entitled to take anything from anyone, rich or poor. This nonsense about rich taking stuff is ridiculous.

                As for your other dribble, talk about fantasy! If you think public transit is perfume smelling flower, just wow.

            2. SparkEV says:

              If corporations are not people, what are they? Group of Satans? The fact is, corporations are composed / run by people, not by supernatural “Satan”.

              Often, lefties wage “holy war” against evil corporations (groups of people) like some religions wage “jihad” against infidels (groups of people). There’s nothing “evil” about wanting to work with other people in running a business, and nothing evil about not believing your religion.

              1. Nick says:

                Try this: if frogs aren’t people, what are they?! Satan’s spawn?

                See, false choice. Corporations are not people (obviously), they are legal constructs. The argument that they are is just bizarre. A corporate charter may list officers and what not. They are people who have rights. When they use the resources of their corporation to “speak”, they have a greater burden of responsibility due to their inordinate impact (using other people’s money, etc).

          4. Miss Fire says:

            Are you as dumb as you sound?

        2. JayTee says:

          You want open borders? Seriously?

          1. Mark.ca says:

            Of course not…

      2. JayTee says:

        For decades liberals have been espousing views exactly like realist’s. Now all of the sudden this is paranoia.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      Daimler, VW. I’m not sure of BMW, but in a number of cases where cars aren’t made in Germany itself, the engines still are. So, I don’t find it hard to believe EV effects will be harder on German auto workers. I remember the Mexican made TDIs had imported engines, for example.

    3. TomArt says:

      I was thinking the same thing. At first, I thought that maybe Daimler wasn’t promising them training for the transition to different jobs. However, the statement about competing with other battery makers around the world suggests that there very well could be some outsourcing…and/or a cut in wages for those that will be retrained for the realigned factories.

    4. Bacardi says:

      Millions of jobs is utter BS, their days were numbered as robots increase automation…There are still plenty of countries like Russia who will rely on both human labor and ICE engines for decades to come…

  2. Alan says:

    Boo frickety hoo,

    If Daimler did nothing, they would all be out of work in no time at all.

    1. Nick says:

      Right, and if the workers did nothing Daimler would be out of business in no time.

      What’s the point?

      1. Devin Serpa says:

        Either way EVs are coming.

      2. JayTee says:

        The point is that Daimler has to do this. It’s the only avenue that keeps some jobs in Germany.

  3. JR says:

    Daimler has know this for a long time, there is no easy way. I think they believed that it would be more slow transformation and hybrid would play a bigger role for a longer time, but here Comes Tesla driving battery prices down, at this opening a hole new possibility!

  4. CDAVIS says:

    1914: “I think that we as buggy men should protest against this idea that is being advanced by the automobile advertisers that the horse and buggy are …”

    1. CDAVIS says:

      2017: “…If anyone is worried about our electric future, it’s the people who build fossil-fuel-powered engines. To wit: the workers at Daimler’s engine plant in Stuttgart, Germany, who are going to slow down their work schedule in protest..”

      1. Vexar says:

        Yeah, that’s really going to help. Your unit cost for the ICE vehicles goes up and your market competitiveness as a product dwindles. What do the executives end up doing? Accelerate their electrification plans as a result. Whoa, looks like we don’t need this Stuttgart plant after all! Shutting down early. :-(.

        Another win for 19th-century labor unions interpreted over the long run as a loss. Keep it up. Prove your irrelevance faster, clearer, sooner!

        1. Nick says:

          Yea, F- the people!

          1. JayTee says:

            Actually the people are f-ing themselves.

            1. Nick says:

              That’s a bit too easy of an answer.

              “We don’t need to worry about these people or society. After all, they are doing all of this to themselves.”

              Now you can wash your hands of this whole messy business.

              Be wary of feel good excuses.

      2. mx says:

        Since these are highly skilled workers, they should be used in the Electric Motor plant. It would be a mistake to just lay them off. They’re probably your best/smartest workers.

        Someone will pick them up, and train them if necessary.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          But think of what you’re saying. There’s no there there. An electric motor is really, really simple. After you take multiple reciprocating pistons, their parts and lubrication out of the mix, there’s no transmission. I’m all for the need to go this way, but along with the parts industry I don’t think it will shorten anyone’s unemployment line.

          1. Nick says:

            Exactly right.

            Here’s a video which covers this:

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Well said, pjwood1.

            Even if those running Daimler have the best of intentions for retaining workers, and resist the replacement of human workers with automation as far as they can, there is absolutely no way that a manufacturing line for a motor with just one moving part will ever need as many workers as a manufacturing line for an engine with 200-300 moving parts.

            Trying to turn this story into just another union rights vs. Big Business is completely ignoring the real issue, the underlying economic change.

            Disruptive tech revolutions are exactly that: Disruptive. Disruptive of markets, disruptive of jobs, disruptive of the affected segment of the economy. There is no way around it. Revolutions have winners, and they have losers. Those workers making ICEngines and parts for gasmobile powertrains are going to be losers.

            That will be true regardless of whether unions are as strong as Superman or so weak and toothless that workers don’t even bother joining them.

        1. Nick says:

          The Luddites were right. The Power-looms were an economic catastrophe for them for generations. It brought them starvation and misery.

          That’s why we need something like a universal basic income.

          This interesting video talks about such things:

          1. Doggydogworld says:

            UBI is a loser. EIC is superior across the board.

            1. Nick says:

              EIC?

              That is more complicated for seemingly little benefit.

              Set a base level of UBI as a negative value on your tax return. If you earn less, you get a cheque. If you earn more, your tax is deducted by the difference. Simple and fair.

  5. James says:

    Wonder if companies like Mercedes survive, and if they do, will they just be a shadow of their old selves? I have a feeling there will be a lot of Nokias and Blackberries when all this shakes out.

    1. R.S says:

      Blackberry was on of the first companies that hopped on the smartphone train. (A smartphone doesn’t need to have no buttons) They actually invented the term “dumb phones” for the regular phones.

      The same goes for HTC, which was very successful with smartphones at first, but aren’t anymore.

      Samsung on the other hand easily made the transition and is now probably more successful, than ever.

      Apple as a new player with “old money” succeeded, Nokia failed and Huawei as a totally new player is on the rise.

      The same will go for the car market. Some will continue, some will fail. Only time will tell.

      1. Asak says:

        The smart phone was a very new market, which was bound to have a lot of turmoil and turnover in leadership. I don’t think the situation will be remotely the same with EVs. An EV in most respects is still a car. A different drive train, certainly, but other aspects (interior/exterior design) are the same.

        The companies most vulnerable are probably the luxury automakers who may lose sales to Tesla. The mass market brands probably will barely notice, since their market is already so crowded.

        1. R.S says:

          I think the only change that would impact the car market as much as the smart phone did with the cell phone market, would be autonomous driving.

          The transition from a dumb car, to a smart car.

    2. mx says:

      Since MB customer base isn’t picking up MB EV’s there’s really no hope for the company.

      1. Hauer says:

        There ARE NO MB BEVs.
        And no, the B class does not count.

        1. Schorschi says:

          How about the smart?

    3. CLIVE says:

      Mercedes is going no where.

      Don’t be silly 😜

      1. CLIVE says:

        MB is not going anywhere.

        They mean business, and I bet they are first in line for the Tesla Supercharge Network.

  6. Alaa says:

    Are these works happy with climate? Is it not the case that Germany is opposing the USA on that issue? On the one hand they like the Paris agreement and on the other they want to keep making the climate worse! What exactly is it that they want these workers? They will protest they say and will reduce their out put, well that is exactly want I wish. I wish they stop all together and not make dirty cars at all. It is about time.

  7. Some Guy says:

    Well, if workers that produce Diesel and gasoline engines don’t do overtime this month, a few less engines are produced, everybody wins. They shuld do some serious undertime, or better yet go on full strike.

  8. Steve says:

    We applaud the German workers’ efforts to reduce the number of combustion engines being produced. THANK YOU 🙂

  9. Chris O says:

    There was a time that 300 farmers did the work of one combine harvester.

    That time won’t come back.

    1. CLIVE says:

      Exactly

    2. Hauer says:

      You understand this.
      I understand this.
      Now somebody tell Donald.

      1. CLIVE says:

        No telling Donald a thing, not like he’d listen anyway.

        VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET

  10. VS says:

    The employees know that 90% of the subcontractors will be gone, and with them the jobs. The cause is the simplicity of the EV.

  11. John Ford says:

    What a stupid idea for these workers. Perhaps the ones that have some brains will begin studying about electric drivetrains and their manufacture as that is the bast chance they have for future employement

  12. Alonso Perez says:

    So the way they will fight a reduction in production of fossil burners in the future is by making fewer of them right now?

    Awesome! Like Christmas in July.

  13. realist says:

    Engine Builders need a nee skill set learn to build batteries. You can’t stop technology from advancing.

    Just slowing down the inevitable

  14. TomArt says:

    Yay, union haters!! Screw the masses! Let them eat cake!

    The original post is insufficient to tell us what the workers are actually protesting. Is Daimler sending jobs overseas? Are they not going to retrain their workers for the new jobs? What is actually going on?

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      Yay! It’s called PROGRESS, Tom. And yes, f***the unions.
      “…the workers at Daimler’s engine plant in Stuttgart, Germany, who are going to slow down their work schedule in protest.”
      What is so hard to understand?? They are quite simply saboteurs who need to be sacked.

      1. Nick says:

        Yes! Give the money to the rich! That’s where it belongs!

  15. Bob Nan says:

    World’s vehicle population is going to triple in the coming decades, so there is plenty of vehicles to be built and more workers to be hired.

    All this scaremongering is done to put EV in a bad light. If they fire their workers just like that, then Tesla will hire them and start building their EVs.

    Still Benz has not sold EV/Plugin in any significant #.

  16. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “…the workers at Daimler’s engine plant in Stuttgart, Germany, who are going to slow down their work schedule in protest.”

    What misguided fools, following in the footsteps of the Luddites, who smashed mechanized looms in protest during that era (1811 to 1816)’s disruptive tech revolution, in which the new technology was automated looms, replacing hand-powered looms.

    And what happened to the Luddites? Eventually their protest movement was, to cite the Wikipedia article, “brutally suppressed with military force.”

    It probably won’t end that badly for these German workers. But common sense says that, as the EV revolution encroaches on gasoline engine manufacturing, when Daimler looks around for the first factory to close, the first place they are going to look is the one where workers first started a self-defeating work slow-down.

    As I’ve said before, economic forces are more powerful than even political forces. It is a ludicrous tragedy that whoever is leading these workers down the path to ruin has apparently been able to convince them that they can use their political power to stop, or at least slow, the inevitable economic triumph of the electric car over the gasmobile.

    If ever there was a case where the adage “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” applies… it’s this one.

    Homo sapiens means “wise man”. Sometimes that name for the human species seems more ironic than appropriate.

  17. JIMJFOX says:

    Reminds me of the miners’ strike in 1970’s UK. Commie ‘union boss’ Arthur Scargill ordered the strike which lasted months, switched off power over many parts of Britain and initiated the 3 day week. The coal mines had been in steep decline for decades yet this saboteur wanted his Soviet utopia, Shot himself in the head, made enemies of every Briton & Thatcher demolished him and his union. That was when I decided to emigrate.

    Mercedes is doing what it has to do to survive. It’s nothing to do with jobs; just like the miners, Merc workers must accept & adapt, not ‘flog a dead horse’.

  18. Nix says:

    buggy whip makers.
    telephone operators.
    coal miners.
    ICE engine builders.

    All will be ancient history. They all fight it. It will happen with or without them.

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