The management of Tesla's Giga Berlin EV factory in Grunheide has reportedly announced a wage increase this year. At least that's what IG Metall announced on Wednesday on the occasion of a preliminary assessment of the union action week. “Over a thousand Tesla workers demonstrated their support for their demand for better work and for IG Metall despite hindrances from management at the factory,” it said, via Tagesspiegel.
In response to the actions, the plant management tried “to turn the workforce against IG Metall at a staff meeting; at the same time, they announced a wage increase for this year,” writes IG Metall.
“Any wage increase is welcome, especially since the pay at Tesla continues to lag well behind the tariff level in the auto industry in Germany,” said Dirk Schulze, the IG Metall district manager for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony. The announced wage increase is a success for the union members in the Tesla factory and “a first tangible result of their week of action.” However, unilaterally imposed wage increases by company management do not replace negotiations on equal terms. “That’s why the following applies to IG Metall: There is still a lot to do at Tesla in the fight for good work and real participation.”
IG Metall is currently preparing for the works council elections next spring so that it can then shape the working conditions at the Tesla Giga Berlin factory with the help of the Works Constitution Act. For a collective bargaining dispute about the material working conditions, especially income, IG Metall needs enough members in the company who are also prepared to put pressure on the employer through a strike. Tesla founder and owner Elon Musk rejects working with unions, as does Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. For many years, Verdi has been trying to negotiate collective bargaining with Amazon in German logistics and distribution centers, so far without success.
The regional IG Metall boss Schulze praised the “courage and determination” of Tesla employees. He described management's efforts to prevent employees from contacting IG Metall as “completely unacceptable”.
IG Metall had asserted its right to speak to employees about their rights during break times on Monday. At the same time, management invited the workforce to a “free meal” and a “surprise.” The announcement for this already mentioned IG Metall's “manipulative methods.” Despite this, IG Metall recorded “a very high response from the workforce”.
According to the information, several dozen trade unionists from all over Germany came “to support” Tesla employees for the week of action. “At the surrounding train stations and in front of the factory gate, they exchanged information about shift changes with hundreds of employees around the clock, many of whom spontaneously joined IG Metall,” IG Metall reported on Wednesday.
“Tesla employees cannot be fobbed off with a free lunch,” said district manager Schulze. For a long time, Tesla employees have been complaining in discussions with IG Metall about poor working conditions and an extreme workload due to short cycle times, a lack of personnel and excessive production targets. Tesla's, as I reported yesterday, isn't taking these Giga Berlin allegations lightly. “In addition, they point to serious deficiencies in health protection and occupational safety, which often led to sickness rates of over 30 percent and a high number of work accidents,” writes the union.
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Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube. He has more than a decade of expertise in the automotive industry with special interest in Tesla and electric vehicles.