Tesla facing backlash in Germany from union over concerns about working hours and contracts

giga berlin general assembly
Credit: Tesla

Tesla opened its second Gigafactory outside the US in Germany last year. However, the automaker has been facing backlash over allegations of unreasonable working hours and fear of reprisal action for speaking out from workers at Giga Berlin, as Reuters reports. The German union IG Metall and politicians have waded into the complaints.

IG Metall runs an office near the new plant in Brandenburg. It reports Giga Berlin workers have complained of longer working hours with curtailed free time. However, the workers are scared to open up about their working conditions because of the non-disclosure agreements they signed.

A new vacancy advertised on Tesla’s website is heightening the workers’ fears. The company wants to employ a “Security Intelligence Investigator” that will work with the legal and human resources departments to gather “on-the-ground information both within and beyond Tesla walls in order to protect the company from threats.”

According to IG Metall’s Irene Schulz, “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.”

It should be noted that Tesla has the same positions in Austin, San Francisco, and Shanghai. Some staff of Tesla China has also been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.

German politicians have weighed in on the issue, from the center-left SPD to the center-right CDU. They have called for inquiries by Tesla and the government.

Tesla has received permission to expand the Berlin plant. However, it has hit the snooze button on the expansion in Shanghai over government concerns about data security.