Tesla’s Giga Factory Electrifies California-Germany Cultural Conflict Reuters


© Reuters File Photo: Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures while inspecting the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory at Gruenheid, near Berlin, Germany, August 1, 2021. Patrick Pliol / via Pool Reuters / File photo


By Victoria Waldercy

BERLIN (Reuters) – Elon Musk of Tesla (Nasdaq 🙂 will be attending a county fair in the small town of Gruenheid this Saturday, probably a few weeks away with the final approval of his German factory.

Despite limiting gatherings to less than 50,000 in Germany, Tesla applied – and received – permission to stay at Giga-Fest in October, after the local authorities agreed the event would be covid safe.

Environmental groups are urging officials to allow the company to demolish its new site before final approval, saying it is the latest example of Tesla being given too much leeway to operate disrupted in Germany – they will continue to worry.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Masks for construction without final permission Pre-approvals obtained from local authorities are valid, but German companies rarely use them because of the associated risk: if final approval is not granted, Tesla must dismantle everything.

The view of some disgusting masks, such as throwing German warnings in the air, others – who say that German rules governing planning, employment and environmental concerns are unreasonably limited – may welcome its impact on the country’s business culture.

“I am absolutely convinced that Tesla could have a positive impact on Germany,” Brandenburg’s economy minister, Joarg Steinbach, a leading lawyer at the factory, told Reuters.

“The basic idea of ​​taking a closer look at the current law and verifying whether it can be modernized – without risking legal effect – is, in my opinion, quite plausible.”

The country’s powerful unions are already preparing to fight for a German-style deal for Tesla workers, environmental groups are ready to oppose further expansion plans, and locals are watching the firm’s every move, wary of Musk’s ‘American’ ways.

“Tesla must comply with environmental protection laws, building laws and, of course, labor and unionization laws,” said Brigitte Dietz, head of the Union IG Metal’s Brandenburg region and former member of Volkswagen’s (DE) supervisory board.

Musk expressed outrage at German laws and procedures, saying in a letter to authorities in April that the country’s complex planning requirements contradicted the emergency plan needed to fight climate change.

Once commissioned, the plant will produce 500,000 electric cars a year and generate 50 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery capacity – more than any other factory in the country.

IG Metal said the conversation between the union and the applicants indicated that Tesla, whose CEO is known for his rocky relationship with organized labor, was paying 20% ​​more than the combined bargain wages paid to other German carmakers.

It is also shaking up conventional German contracts by offering packages with stock options and bonuses instead of pre-determined holiday pay.

Running a tough deal with its staff could create a competitive advantage for Tesla, whose choice of setting up its first European giga factory in the birthplace of Volkswagen, Daimler (OTC 🙂 and BMW has taken part in the global battle for EV dominance.

Mask has already gained experience of German Union power. When Tesla bought Grohmann Automation, a German car parts supplier, in 2001, it kept wages 0% lower than the average, which combined to refuse to match wages.

After the company offered a single bonus and stock option, the unions dropped the threat of a strike. The union says stock options have also been kept at the Brandenburg factory.

German workers can’t do that – but Tesla can

According to IG Metal and Steinbach, 800-1,200 of the 12,000 vacancies created at the factory have been filled so far.

Tesla did not respond to requests for comment or questions about recruitment progress. But according to LinkedIn, the number of applicants is low, with less than 10 applicants for most of the factory positions advertised last month.

Gruenheid is a 45-minute drive from the Polish border, and Tesla is widely expected to recruit staff from there.

“20% of German wages are still very good wages for Polish workers,” said Ferdinand Dudenhofer, an expert in the German auto industry.

“German carmakers couldn’t do it; they’d have big problems with the union. But Tesla could do it.”

Musk planned to start production in July to deliver the Model Y car to European customers from Berlin – but local opposition and the delay in adding a battery plant delayed the process of resubmitting blueprints to authorities.

The delay forced Tesla to deliver the Model Y from Shanghai, prolonging the waiting time and increasing costs.

In a document published online in late September, all of the factory’s 813 objections to the local authorities and Tesla’s response, the company repeatedly reminded its critics that it was creating jobs and bringing Germany closer to its goal of electric mobility.

“I understand the concern. But some of it is selfish. It’s always the same মানুষ people want things like wind farms and electric vehicles … not just in their backyards,” said Ralph-Thomas Peterson, a local Grunheid member of Germany’s official Tesla fan club. .

At a public meeting scheduled for September 2, citizens were removed online to discuss the factory’s objections because of concerns that it could become a “super-spreader event,” authorities said, a decision that some saw as hypocritical considering Tesla’s possible approval of 9,000 people. Request for person.

“It’s not about Tesla. It’s about whether to take citizen participation seriously,” said Michael Ganshaw, of the environmental organization Gruen Ligar. “We can’t just say, ‘You’re making electric cars, so you can do whatever you want’.”

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