Controversy over the works council election at Tesla in Grünheide – the electoral board counters criticism

In the German factory of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla, there is criticism of IG Metall’s attempt to initially stop the works council election in March due to time pressure for the workforce.

The electoral board rejected allegations in an email to employees, which was available to the German Press Agency.

“We are accused of imposing unnecessary time pressure on the submission of lists of proposals when initiating the election. That is not true,” says the letter from chairman René Seyfert, who speaks for the entire electoral board. “The time frame for the election is set by law and we are bound by these requirements.”

The union had submitted an application for an interim injunction to the Frankfurt (Oder) labor court in order to initially stop the second works council election and to campaign for a new date. IG Metall sees time pressure due to the forced break in car production at Tesla up to and including Sunday (February 11th). The reason was a gap in the supply chain for components as a result of attacks by the Yemeni Houthi militia on ships in the Red Sea.

The union sees equal opportunities in the nomination of candidates at risk. After the operational break and return to their jobs, employees would only have until February 15th to create an election proposal, recruit candidates and collect signatures. The works council election is planned for March 18th to 20th. The company has not yet commented on IG Metall’s criticism.

The electoral board was surprised by the allegations and denied violating the principles of a fair and democratic election. “We strongly disagree with this,” the letter says. “We assume that the labor court will classify our plans as legally correct. We will therefore carry out the election as planned in the election notice – unless a court decision makes a change to the plan necessary.”

It is the second works council election at Tesla in Grünheide. A new election after two years is necessary if the workforce doubles. In the case of Tesla, it has increased fivefold, writes the electoral board. Such a committee takes care of the preparation and implementation of the works council election. It consists of employees entitled to vote, which can also be members of the works council. The factory in Grünheide opened in March 2022 and, according to the company, currently has around 12,500 employees.



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Image sources: David Calvert/For The Washington Post via Getty, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images