A group of Tesla employees will file a lawsuit against the electric car maker. This “class action”, the English term for grouped actions, targets the Gigafactory Texas.
More specifically, these are workers who participated in the construction site of the Texas factory. They denounce the non-respect of working conditions and the dangers they have faced.
They also complain of having had their pay stolen, certainly when it was given by cheque, and of not having been paid for overtime. Some did not even receive the wages that were due to them.
A worker explains that his badge has been tampered with, and that he has not received any training on safety and employee rights. Thus, they were not aware of their right to refuse work they considered too dangerous.
“Nobody deserves to suffer what happened at the Gigafactory”an anonymous employee told the Guardian. “I don’t think it was human. »
He and other colleagues of his, whom Tesla had directly hired for the job, will press charges. It is the Ministry of Labor (Department of Labor) which will deal with it via its administration of health and safety at work.
“I’m going to die in this factory”
The testimony of this employee continues, and he details the dangerous conditions in which he operated. He reveals to have worked several times on the roof of the factory without lights. He was doing it next to turbines that raised dust, but his employer did not offer him a mask.
Worse, he and his colleagues had to continue working in a flooded floor, which no one had secured. The cables were in the water and the wires were bare in these conditions.
He reveals that he said one evening to his wife: “I’m going to die in this factory”. He also explained that he had to return to work with a broken arm, because he needed the money. “Every day there was a security problem”.
The lawyer for the Workers Defense Project, a non-profit association which helps them, deplores the situation. “Tesla didn’t seem interested in making sure everyone could go home at night unhurt, and with whatever money they had in their pockets”explains Hannah Alexander.
False promises about double wages at Thanksgiving
Indeed, in addition to the security problems, recovering his salary and keeping it sometimes seemed difficult. Some employees had their money stolen, others struggled to get paid. This was the case last year at Thanksgiving, when the employees stayed on to work. It is not the first time that employees, whoever they are, find themselves under pressure.
Tesla promised them to double their pay for it, but they ended up getting the same pay as usual. The employees did not want to upset their employer, who took advantage of the system. Indeed, in the United States, companies hire subcontractors, who hire them themselves.
“Everyone is wrong”continues the employee. “Anyone could have avoided this. Tesla could have avoided this. » But for the Workers Defense Project, there is no doubt about the responsibility ultimately of Tesla.
“Everything we see is complicated by the fact that there is not a lot of transparency or accountability, because they have decided not to have this independently monitored”explains David Chincanchan, chief of staff of the association.
“Overall, the state of the industry in Texas tends to be a race to the bottom. The exploitation of many workers, often immigrants, is a problem. »
Gigafactory Texas to produce 4680 cells and eventually the Tesla Cybertruck. However, she is now under fire from critics. One of the main axes of the complaint will be the issuance of false certificates assuring that the employees have completed their safety training.
The Workers Defense Project declined to share the list of contractors involved in the complaint. This refusal is indeed explained by the fact that the investigation is in progress. For its part, Tesla declined to comment.