BERLIN, November 23 (Reuters) – Employees at Tesla’s huge new plant (TSLA.O) near Berlin will elect a works council to represent their interests, a German union said on Tuesday.
The IG Metall union said seven employees have taken the first step towards setting up a works council, planning to choose an election committee on November 29.
“A works council ensures that the interests of workers have voice and weight. This is in line with the democratic working culture in Germany, ”said Birgit Dietze, IG Metall district manager in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony.
The Tesla plant near Berlin will employ 12,000 workers, although only a sixth of them have been hired so far, which means that a works council election will not take place soon, IG Metall said.
IG Metall said candidates told him Tesla, whose CEO Elon Must is known for his difficult relations with unions, was offering a salary 20% lower than the collectively negotiated wages offered by other German automakers.
Tesla is also shaking up conventional German contracts by offering packages with stock options and bonuses rather than a predetermined vacation pay.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a phone call or email request for comment.
Earlier this year, Musk was ordered to suppress a 2018 tweet threatening that U.S. employees would lose stock options if they formed a union.
Musk has made known his irritation with German laws and processes, saying in a letter to authorities in April that the country’s complex planning requirements conflict with the urgency needed to tackle climate change.
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