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Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

Tesla may have to raise wages in Germany if it wants to achieve its goal of hiring thousands of additional workers for its factory near Berlin, according to the country’s leading automotive labour union.

IG Metall is getting reports from Tesla staff at the Gruenheide site who are complaining about inadequate or unequal wages, the union said on Monday. Skilled workers are getting about 20% less at the plant than at rival manufacturers with IG Metall wage agreements, the group added, citing its own analysis.

Tesla’s recruitment “isn’t progressing at the planned speed,” Birgit Dietze, a regional IG Metall chief, said in a statement. “Many people would be interested in switching to Tesla, but ultimately decide against it, also because they sometimes earn considerably more in their current positions at other automotive companies.”

Tesla expects to eventually employ 12,000 people at the Gruenheide site once full vehicle production is under way alongside a battery-making operation. The carmaker said in March that more than 3,000 people work at the factory and that it plans to hire thousands more in the coming months. Tesla hasn’t given a more recent update and didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday.

CEO Elon Musk last week warned in an internal memo that Tesla has had a “very tough quarter” as it struggles with supply-chain snags, imploring workers to help get the company back on track. The CEO has sent mixed messages on job cuts recently, first telling employees that 10% of salaried workers would lose their positions, before then saying that overall staffing will increase.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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