Short Circuit

Tesla may face double trouble in Germany


In Germany, state government authorities in the Rheinland area are investigating possible violations of the Working Hours Act at the German Tesla subsidiary Tesla Grohmann Automation. Up north, Tesla’s Gigafactory 4 in Brandenburg is also facing new headwinds – all the way from the southern German state of Bavaria.

According to information from the WirtschaftsWoche, there is a suspicion that at Grohmann, the legally stipulated maximum working hours have regularly been exceeded and that the legally prescribed health protection violated. Tesla has not gone into detail but vehemently denies accusations saying that these were “in no way true”.

According to the insiders referred to by the business magazine, the works council at Tesla Grohmann is also split on whether it should demand that the management reduce overtime and comply with the Working Hours Act. Since overtime is significantly better paid, “numerous employees” are critical of any action against the high number of overtime hours.

Elon Musk is himself known for his eagerness to work excessive weekly working hours. Nobody has said yet whether Tesla Grohmann employees have already slept at the factory – as Musk once said he had to do around the “production hell” of Model 3.

The question is: will Musk even get to turn up with his sleeping bag in Brandenburg when production starts in Gigafactory 4? The German newspaper Tagesspiegel reports that an association from the southernmost German state of Bavaria (!) is considering suing against the construction of the Gigafactory in Grünheide in Brandenburg. The Association for Landscape Conservation and Species Protection in Bavaria (VLAB), which is strictly against wind power and has never been active in Brandenburg before, wants to “make a statement as a recognised nature conservation association” and “is also considering filing an appeal”.

VLAB was recognised as an environmental and nature conservation association by the Free State of Bavaria in 2015 and by the Federal Environment Agency in 2019. This means that the association can take legal action nationwide against approval notices for construction and infrastructure projects via the right of association action.

With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany., (both in German)


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