Union says Tesla staff at German factory face poor conditions and long hours

Union says Tesla staff at German factory face poor conditions and long hours

Union says Tesla staff at German factory face poor conditions and long hours

  • A major German union has criticized working conditions at the giant Tesla factory in Berlin.
  • IG Metall said the long hours mean workers have too little time for “leisure, family and relaxation”.
  • The union also says workers are afraid to speak out, with one politician calling the claims “surprising”.

Some workers at Tesla’s Brandenburg factory in Berlin, Germany, have claimed the company has set unreasonable working hours and created a culture of fear, a major union said at a press conference on Monday, as Reuters reported.

At the conference, IG Metall, a German union representing workers at Tesla’s Gigafactory, criticized the electric car maker for poor working conditions, Reuters reported. IG Metall said it was in close contact with workers at the Gigafactory.

Factory workers reported working long hours with few breaks and time off, according to Reuters. German business newspaper Handelsblatt said staff said they experienced stressful shifts, often had to work weekends and had a very high workload due to too few staff.

The workers told IG Metall they were afraid to speak out about their working conditions because they had signed nondisclosure agreements alongside their employment contracts, Reuters reported.

IG Metall has found a new role on Tesla’s website for a “security intelligence investigator” tasked with protecting Tesla’s “intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential information.”

The work includes “gathering field information inside and beyond Tesla’s walls in priority locations to protect the company from threats,” which has heightened fears to speak out.

Insider found several people on LinkedIn who work in security intelligence at Tesla in Austin, San Francisco and Berlin.

IG Metall District Manager Irene Schulz said in a statement Thursday that workers “started this project with great enthusiasm.”

She added, according to a translation by Insider: “For some time, we have observed that enthusiasm is waning and disappointment is spreading. The messages reaching us from the workforce are clear: Tesla is not doing enough to improve working conditions and is walking away too. small room for leisure, family and relaxation.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was made outside of normal U.S. business hours. IG Metall said it could not comment further at this time.

German politicians have expressed concern over the allegations and are calling for an investigation, the Handelsblatt reported.

Sebastian Roloff, a member of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, told the Handelsblatt the allegations were “surprising”.

Tesla has struggled to hire at the Berlin-based factory due to low wages, IG Metall told Bloomberg in June. The factory’s experienced workers earned 20% less than staff at other German manufacturers, the union said at the time.

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