| PRUEM, Germany, April 26
PRUEM, Germany, April 26 Luxury electric
carmaker Tesla has offered more sweeteners to try to
quell unrest at a key German supplier, whose founder and chief
executive has not been seen at work for weeks, German labour
officials said on Wednesday.
Grohmann Engineering, a maker of automated manufacturing
systems which Tesla agreed to buy in November, is key to the
Silicon Valley carmaker's bid to succeed in the mass market by
massively ramping up its output.
Since then, Tesla has given job guarantees and pay rises to
the firm's 700 employees in the small town of Pruem close to the
Belgian border, under threat of strike action organised by
powerful trade union IG Metall.
The head of Grohmann's works council, Uwe Herzig, said Tesla
had offered another 1,000 euro ($1,089) one-off payment after
Easter, on top of job guarantees, pay rises and stock options.
He added that Klaus Grohmann, under whose leadership Tesla
had been planning to run the business, suddenly retired at the
end of last month.
"In November we were told that everything would remain the
same, and then on March 31 we were surprised to hear that he
will retire," Herzig told a news conference, adding Klaus
Grohmann had not been seen at the company since then.
A Klaus Grohmann listed in the German telephone directory as
living close to Pruem was not immediately reachable by phone.
Tesla in Germany did not immediately respond to a request
Tesla has pledged to create an additional 1,000 jobs at
Grohmann, which it has renamed Tesla Grohmann Automation, as it
seeks to increase output to half a million vehicles next year
from around 80,000 in 2016.
Grohmann has helped Tesla rivals Daimler and BMW
build production facilities for electric car
batteries. Herzig said Grohmann had given Tesla priority over
The takeover and expansion plans by Tesla have prompted IG
Metall to demand that Tesla Grohmann Automation adopts
collective wage agreements and job guarantees above and beyond
an existing pledge to guarantee Grohmann jobs for five years.
Christian Schmitz, head of IG Metall's Trier branch, said
concessions made by Tesla to guarantee jobs were
encouraging but they were not the collective guarantees
customary among German unionised workforces.
Furthermore, key parts of the workforce at Grohmann were
being paid around 25 to 30 percent below an industry-wide
collective agreement for the metalworker electric industry
sector, IG Metall said..
($1 = 0.9185 euros)
(Additional reporting by David Shephardson in Washington;
Additional reporting and writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by