Well-known German union IG Metall is back to citing Tesla for its long working hours and potentially unfair and/or unfit working conditions. The union says some employees have visited its office to voice their concerns.
Tesla has had issues in Germany just about ever since it broke ground for Giga Berlin. Some concerns came from the government, others from environmentalists, and still others from unions. Nonetheless, the company is having growing success in Europe, breaking sales records, and has remained non-unionized, though CEO Elon Musk admitted he's not opposed to unionization if the workers support it.
Apparently, IG Metall has an office close to Giga Berlin. It seems the union hopes it will eventually be able to help workers at the factory unionize. According to union officials who spoke at IG Metall's annual news conference, a growing number of Tesla workers have noted that they have too many hours and they're scared to talk to their superiors.
IG Metall, which claims to be in contact with Giga Berlin employees on a regular basis, shared that the employees are upset that they have very little free time, no time for family, and no time to recover from the hard work. Some workers reportedly went on to say that non-disclosure agreements increase their fears to speak out. IG Metall Berlin-Brandenburg-Sachsen spokesperson Irene Schulz provided in a statement:
“Workers started at Tesla with great enthusiasm for the project. Over time, we are observing that this enthusiasm is withering. Tesla is not doing enough to improve working conditions and is leaving too little time for leisure, family, and recovery."
To escalate matters, some local politicians are worried about the information IG Metall has shared. In some cases, politicians have requested that the government of Brandenburg look into the allegations more thoroughly. Christian Democrat politician Christian Baeumler said that “The state government of Brandenburg must enforce occupational safety through close controls at Tesla."
Tesla has been facing similar allegations across the globe for many years, and repeated attempts have been made to unionize. However, the company has sort of developed a reputation for suggesting that if employees don't want to be a part of Tesla and do the hard work and long hours, they should simply work somewhere else.
This may have worked many times in the past, but as the automaker struggles to fill new positions at new factories, like that of Giga Berlin, telling employees to suck it up or pack their bags may not be the best course of action. Hopefully, the parties involved can get to the bottom of the concerns and, if there are notable issues present, work to achieve a better balance work-life balance for employees.