Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin has a new neighbor in the form of an office from Germany’s largest union, IG Metall. The new office would make it easier for IG Metall to attend to Giga Berlin’s workforce, which is estimated to reach as high as 12,000 when the facility is ramped up.
In a statement to the German press agency, IG Metall district manager for Berlin, Brandenburg, and Saxony Birgit Dietze noted that the workers union would like to represent as many Tesla employees as possible. She noted that the presence of IG Metall’s new Grünheide office could help achieve this goal, as the location is open to any Tesla employees who may have questions about job interviews, employment contracts, everyday work at the Tesla Giga Berlin site, and other pertinent topics.
“We have opened an office very close to the factory premises and are available to employees for any questions. Of course, we also support the works council election. And we are available for union questions: remuneration, length of working hours, shift issues, and so on,” she said.
IG Metall is the dominant metalworkers’ union in Germany, making it the country’s largest union and Europe’s largest industrial union. German labor relations analysts consider IG Metall as a significant trend-setter in national bargaining for workers’ rights and compensation. With over two million members today, IG Metall currently represents workers from some of the auto industry’s biggest players, such as Daimler, Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen.
IG Metall and Tesla actually dealt with each other in the past. When Tesla was acquiring Grohmann Engineering in Prum, Germany, IG Metall became one of the biggest critics of the deal, claiming that the EV maker’s incentives for the site’s employees were below par. Tesla eventually introduced favorable incentives for its Grohmann employees that included higher pay and stock options.
However, it should be highlighted that Tesla-Grohmann employees also rejected IG Metall, deciding instead to form their own internal bargaining unit. And based on Tesla Grohmann’s operations and ongoing expansion so far, it appears that this setup has been beneficial in the long run.