FRANKFURT -- Germany's top union IG Metall called for Tesla to improve staffing conditions at its German gigafactory as it prepares to expand, with the carmaker due to publish its expansion plans for feedback from the community later this week.
Tesla's application to double the capacity of its Gruenheide site near Berlin to 1 million cars a year will be made accessible online and to local residents from July 19, according to the environment ministry of Brandenburg, the German state where the plant is based.
Citizens have until mid-September to file objections to the application.
The expansion plans will entail adding more jobs to the 12,000 planned for the first expansion phase of Tesla's first European product hub, of which roughly 11,000 have been hired so far.
"We welcome the creation of jobs in the automotive industry in Germany. Tesla's plans are a clear commitment to Brandenburg as a location," IG Metall's Dirk Schulze said.
"However, this announcement is in stark contrast to what the local employees are currently experiencing: Despite high levels of sick leave, staff are being cut on a considerable scale."
Schulze said that in June alone, around 200 permanent staff had been laid off or signed payout deals and a mid-triple digit number of temporary workers had been let go, without reducing the site's weekly production goal of 5,000 cars currently.
"Before the expansion of the plant, the expansion of the working conditions of the colleagues in Gruenheide must now finally have priority," he said.
Tesla was not immediately available for comment.