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Tesla hires head of Mercedes-Benz factory, German union gets weirdly mad about it

Tesla hires the former head of a Mercedes-Benz factory near Berlin just after having fired the head of its Gigafactory Berlin project.

The local union behind the Daimler factory is getting weirdly mad about it.

René Reif was the head of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Marienfelde near Berlin until October of last year.

Now IG Metall, a powerful union in the auto industry in Germany, reports that Reif has joined Tesla.

The news comes after we learned that Tesla dismissed Evan Horetsky, the head of the Gigafactory Berlin project.

At this point, it’s not confirmed if Reif is taking over the project, but IG Metall seems to believe that he is and they are not happy about it.

The Marienfelde factory is going through a reorganization and IG Metall is afraid that it might result in losing 2,000 to 2,500 jobs.

The union appears to believe that Tesla and Reif have something to do with it.

Jan Otto, managing director of the Berlin IG Metall, commented (translated from German via Morgenpost):

“We cannot build the future with soulless managers like this. We don’t understand why such a traditional and innovative car manufacturer like the Daimler group wants to capitulate to its American competitor. We want to shape the future in the factory. We are in talks with state politicians about this.”

IG Metall organized a rally in front of the Mercedes-Benz factory gate on Thursday and Otta added:

 “We will make it clear that we see the change in the plant manager as a betrayal, it is questionable whether we have not been lied to the whole time.”

Tesla ran into some issues with IG Metall back in 2017 after they acquired Grohmann Engineering and the union wanted to get involved.

The California-based automaker, who is also fighting unionization efforts at home, managed to avoid IG Metall getting into its German operations by offering a salary increase to its employees.

Electrek’s Take

I am not sure why IG Metall is being so mad about it and attacking the head of the plant’s character.

This is the kind of things that happen all the time in Silicon Valley.

But it looks like the union is more mad at Daimler for letting Tesla take the lead in electric vehicles, which I think is fair.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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