Tesla employees at Gigafactory Berlin in Germany will erect a works council, according to a German trade union, which stated workers would have a say in their labor to align with the traditional “democratic work culture” in Germany.
The trade union representing the workers at Gigafactory Berlin is the IG Metall union, which stated that a total of seven Tesla workers had already taken the initial steps to form a works council. IG Metall said the workers are planning to choose an election committee later this month, on November 29th.
“A works council ensures that the interests of the workforce have a voice and weight. That corresponds to the democratic work culture in Germany,” Birgit Dietze, District Manager of IG Metall in Berlin-Brandenburg-Saxony, said. “Innovation and flexibility as well as safety, occupational safety, and a strong co-determination are not a contradiction, but the basis for economic success.”
Dietze has familiarity when representing automotive unions through IG Metall. She has worked with company representatives for various German automakers, including Volkswagen AG and Audi, from 2016 to 2018.
IG Metall said that to work effectively with the prospective works council that Tesla Giga Berlin employees want to set up, it will have to determine the emotions and interests of the entire workforce that it will represent. As only seven members of the Giga Berlin workforce have come forward, IG Metall said it “makes sense” not to hold the electoral process for a committee immediately. The trade union said that only one-sixth of Tesla’s total Giga Berlin workforce had been hired. There will be an estimated 12,000 employees at the plant.
IG Metall has an FAQ section of their website set up specifically for the Giga Berlin operation. According to Reuters, IG Metall has told some applicants that Tesla is offering pay that is 20% lower than wages offered by other German automakers.
Tesla Gigafactory Berlin is set to open within the coming months. However, some German politicians are confident that the plant will begin normal operation by the end of the year.
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