Operations at Tesla's massive new factory in Berlin are reportedly in "total chaos," Wired reports, with the Elon Musk-led company falling far short of its hiring goals.
Worldwide, the number of vacancies at the company has doubled since the summer, suggesting that it's facing serious headwind in not only attracting new workers, but also keeping them motivated enough to stick around.
In Germany, Musk promised back in March that the Berlin plant was going to produce half a million Teslas this year. But it sounds like the facility's staffing woes are at serious risk of derailing that goal.
"Some people are off sick longer than they’ve actually worked," one current employee told Wired. "There are people who I haven’t seen working for three weeks in six months. Many people are signed off sick because the motivation isn’t there."
The factory still has only 7,000 roles have been filled out of a planned 12,000, and we can only hazard a guess as to why German autoworkers are staying away.
For one, Germany's substantial auto sector is heavily unionized. According to Wired, Tesla is also paying its metal workers 20 percent less than competing companies.
It's also conceivable that Musk's crumbling stature amid his bumbling acquisition of Twitter — not to mention its own highly publicized labor woes — are dimming Tesla's prospects for attracting talent.
Aggressive recruiting targets are doing little to attract workers to the plant.
"People in HR want to hit their targets for recruitment, so they will say anything to get people in," the unnamed employee told Wired, "but not pay attention to keeping these workers."
Other workers reportedly had their job contracts changed unexpectedly, being forced to work night and weekend shifts.
These staffing issues don't bode well, especially considering the construction of Tesla's Berlin plant was already mired in controversy from the very start, with environmental groups warning of increased deforestation and water contamination.
Since officially opening in March, working conditions seemingly haven't improved all that much. According to a September report by the German newspaper Stern, the factory was even operating without functioning fire alarms, suggesting safety protocols are far from where they should be.
It comes to no surprise then that the factory is struggling to meet end of year production goals of 5,000 vehicles a week. The plant only met a benchmark of 2,000 Model Y cars by the end of October, double the output compared to June according to Wired, but a fraction of what the company's other plants in Texas and Shanghai can produce.
In short, workers have plenty of other better options as far as the car sector goes. Volkswagen, for instance, is already operating a massive plant in the region.
As of now, Tesla is struggling to provide competitive pay and stable working conditions. In a country with a well-established and unionized auto sector, it shouldn't come as a surprise then that Tesla's chaotic approach isn't proving successful.
READ MORE: Tesla’s Berlin Hub Can’t Hire Enough People, or Keep Them [Wired]
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