Majority of Tesla Giga Berlin workers vote against union, but IG Metall still makes progress


A majority of Tesla Gigafactory Berlin workers voted against union representatives of IG Metall in their new work council, but the union has still made significant progress.

Work councils in Germany work almost like little governments within companies to represent the workers. They can work with unions or be independent of them.

Workers at Gigafactory Berlin had to vote on a new worker council yesterday.

Tagesspiegel reports that IG Metall has made a lot of progress with taking about 40% of the seats on the council, the biggest group within it, but it failed to gain a majority (translated from German):

IG Metall narrowly won the works council election at Tesla in Grünheide. 39.4 percent of the workforce voted for the union’s candidates, followed in second place with 35.9 percent by the list of employees who dominated the previous works council. In the new 39-person works council, IG Metall is the largest group with 16 members, the Tagesspiegel learned from the company on Wednesday evening. However, the union clearly missed the majority.

Both Tesla and IG Metall declared victory. The former because the majority of employees didn’t vote for workers representing the union, and the latter because their representatives took more seats than any other group.

IG Metall ran its campaign on accusing the previous council of being too friendly with the employer. IG Metall district manager Dirk Schulze commented:

 “When people were fired, it was usually done without objection by the works council, which did not even hear from the affected colleagues. This is the opposite of works council work for the employees.” 

The new work council will start working next week and IG Metall says that it will push for hiring more temporary workers, longer cycle times on the assembly lines, appropriate line breaks, no more salary deductions in case of illness, and more.

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