IG Metall Fears Giga Gruenheide’s Works Council Request Is a Tesla Move to Control It

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When we spoke about an attempt to create a works council at Giga Grünheide, we had the impression that Tesla would have to deal with IG Metall whether it likes that or not. A new report from Reuters puts that under an entirely new perspective. The request to unionize the German factory at this point could mean that Tesla will control it.
Works councils are usually established when all employees (or most of them) have already been hired. That helps to allow that the elections pick representatives from all of the workers. The issue with Giga Grünheide is that only about 2,000 people have been hired by Tesla so far. As Birgit Dietze stresses, most of them are middle and senior managers.

If they elect a works council now, the head of IG Metall's regional office for Berlin-Brandenburg-Saxony believes metal workers will get underrepresented. She did not mention that to Reuters, but it seems pretty evident that having managers ruling the council will imply that Tesla also leads it.

Dietze said that seven Tesla employees – none of which were ever associated with IG Metall – called a meeting for Monday (November 29). They will choose a committee that will run elections for the works council. When these guys are elected, they will remain in charge of the council for two years.

In other words, if Tesla cannot avoid having its factory unionized, it will use the rules to put its own people in charge of the works council. It is a temporary solution, for sure, but it would allow Tesla to do whatever it pleases for a reasonable amount of time.

If that strategy works, it will be interesting to see what IG Metall’s next move will be. Legally speaking, there seems to be no problem in establishing this council at this point unless the fact that the factory still has no permanent permit to work counts. If it does, the German union may try to postpone the elections for when Giga Grünheide is operating. If it doesn’t, IG Metall may have to wait for two years to truly call Giga Grünheide a unionized factory.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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