Tesla workers at the US EV maker's busy factory in China are reportedly pushing back as the company allegedly cut their performance bonuses. Sources claim the cuts came due to a safety incident that happened earlier in 2023 at the plant. While we don't have details from Tesla about the situation, it seems a worker died at the factory.
Editor's Update: According to a recent article published by Teslarati, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was made aware of the situation with bonus cuts in China. In a reply to tweet sharing an article about the cuts, the CEO tweeted a response stating he "was alerted this weekend” about the issue and is “looking into it.”
Giga Shanghai is arguably Tesla's most important factory now, and it may continue to be in the future. This is because the plant makes EVs for the domestic market – which is the largest automotive market in the world and a hot spot for EVS – and for export.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has praised China and pointed to some of its automakers as Tesla's only real competition. The US automaker has had to initiate many price cuts to remain competitive in China amid growing competition. Nonetheless, the factory has been able to produce more EVs than any of Tesla's other plants. In fact, it's currently capable of cranking out at least 750,000 per year.
Thanks to the clear success of Giga Shanghai, as well as Musk's love for the factory, its leadership, and its employees, the performance bonuses just made sense. For this reason, it's a bit shocking to some people that they may have been reduced or eliminated.
The Tesla China performance bonuses were set at 2,000 yuan ($291 USD), which may not seem like much. However, Electrek writes that the workers may only make the equivalent of about $16,000 per year, so $300 is significant.
Electrek shares that, according to Reuters, the bonuses would be cut for Tesla workers in China due to a safety accident that happened at the factory in Q1 2023. The report states that a Tesla worker died during an incident at Giga Shanghai's welding workshop.
Based on the report, the local government determined that the worker was directly responsible for the incident. However, it also stated that Tesla was indirectly responsible based on how it handles safety management.
Hopefully, more information about the safety incident and reported fatality will come to light. In the meantime, this is a developing story, and we need to take the details with a grain of salt. If more details become available, we'll update this story or publish a follow-up. Let us know your thoughts on the story by leaving a comment below.