Tesla has shot down reports of safety concerns and an increase in workers joining local union IG Metall in Germany at Gigafactory Berlin after a report surfaced yesterday.
On Monday, IG Metall said its membership numbers from Tesla employees were rising. The claim was made on the same day that German media outlets reported that work-related accidents were on the rise at Tesla’s plant in Germany, where 11,000 people are employed.
IG Metall claimed that Giga Berlin had a lack of safety provisions, which has led to a high rate of accidents on site.
However, Tesla has disputed the report, and on Tuesday, it said in a written statement that workers at the plant have received “training on necessary safety measures, as well as protective clothing,” according to a report from Reuters.
Additionally, Tesla said Giga Berlin has been the subject of regular safety checks by local authorities.
Tesla managers, according to a separate report, had invited teams to discuss IG Metall’s presence in Gigafactory Berlin, which included a meeting with food and a “surprise” for those in attendance.
Unionization has been a hotly debated discussion piece surrounding Tesla for years, and not just at its German factory. In the United States, rumors of unionization have swirled throughout the Fremont Factory for many years.
CEO Elon Musk once invited the United Auto Workers, or UAW, to hold a unionization meeting at Fremont, but the organization never took Musk up on his offer. Additionally, he has encouraged employees to discuss unionization and take that step if they feel it would benefit their work environment.
However, Tesla employees have not taken that offer.
Recently, Tesla was part of a case involving the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, in which the agency challenged the automaker’s dress code and how it restricted workers from wearing pro-union clothing.
Tesla required workers to wear their uniform for safety reasons, and allowed them to wear stickers or other pro-union insignia. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith challenged the NLRB’s case, and Tesla lawyer Michael Kenneally said, “There hasn’t been a meaningful infringement on employees’ ability to communicate their support for the union.”
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