IG Metall report
Employees at the Tesla plant in Grünheide (Oder-Spree) are said to complain more and more about low and unequal wages. This was reported by the union IG Metall, which runs an office at the Fangschleuse station not far from the factory site. “Tesla pays far less than car companies in the region where IG Metall rates apply,” says District Director Birgit Dietze.
problems with recruiting
This is also noticeable in the hiring trend, continued the trade unionist. “Apparently, the plant management is finding it increasingly difficult to find enough suitable staff,” he says. According to information from rbb, about 4,500 people are currently employed in the first European plant of the American electric car manufacturer. By the end of the year, Tesla plans to hire up to 12,000 employees at the Grünheide site to meet the production target of 500,000 vehicles per year.
“To achieve this, management will soon have to raise their pay,” says Dietze. He knows from company employees that hiring is not progressing at the planned rate. “Many would be interested in switching to Tesla, but ultimately decide not to, not least because they sometimes earn a lot more in their current positions with other drivers,” says the district manager of IG Metall. The plant management then began offering higher wages for new hires than for previous occupations.
Up to 20% salary difference
But this leads to another problem, according to Dietze: “In the long run, this will damage the company’s peace. We have already received a lot of complaints about it.” For this reason, IG Metall analyzed the employment contracts and job descriptions in collaboration with several employees of the Tesla plant. The result is clear, according to Dietze.
“At nearly 20 per cent, the wage gaps in the middle of the pay scale, ie between skilled workers, are particularly large.” The trade unionist is convinced that this difference will be even greater with the targeted wage increases that IG Metall wants to carry out in the next wage rounds for the metal and electrical industry. Tesla’s management will have to react to this.
Birgit Dietze assumes – if Grünheide employees did not organize and enforce a collective agreement – that Tesla employees will continue to be below the income level of their colleagues at other auto plants in the future. The newly created works council could not change anything in this regard.
IG Metall reports that this is exactly what the committee expects. “This expectation is understandable. But the works council will not be able to meet it,” says Birgit Dietze. Employee representatives can have a say in many things. “But the works council has no influence on issues like wage levels and weekly working hours,” Dietze continued. This is no different at Tesla than any other private sector company, explains the unionist.
Broadcast: Brandenburg antennas, news bulletin, June 20, 2022, 11:30 am