According to online posts and workers, employees from Tesla’s Shanghai factory are using social media to reach out to Elon Musk and the Chinese public after receiving news over the weekend regarding the reduction of their performance bonuses.
In addition, a number of these posts also expressed dissatisfaction with Tesla’s response to a deadly accident that occurred earlier this year at the Shanghai factory, which happens to be the company’s largest worldwide. The workers questioned whether the reduction in performance bonuses was related to this incident.
This instance of discontent at Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which is the company’s largest and most productive site, is a rare occurrence. Last year, during the city’s two-month COVID lockdown, Elon Musk commended the workers at the plant for working tirelessly around the clock to ensure the smooth running of operations.
Towards the end of last week, numerous posts started surfacing on forums like Baidu Tieba. Certain individuals resorted to using Twitter, which is owned by Elon Musk but blocked in China, to send tweets to the billionaire himself, as well as to his mother Maye Musk and Tesla’s official accounts.
A Twitter user with the handle @AFeiywu appealed directly to Elon Musk and Tesla’s Asia unit, stating, “Kindly take note that the performance bonuses of frontline workers at Tesla’s Shanghai factory are being arbitrarily reduced.”
According to two employees at the Shanghai factory, which has a workforce of approximately 20,000, their supervisors informed them over the weekend that their quarterly bonus payout would be reduced. This bonus is tied to the factory’s performance.
The workers, who chose to remain anonymous due to job security concerns, disclosed that Tesla supervisors cited a “safety incident” when asked about the reason behind the bonus reduction.
Numerous online posts alleged that the workers at Tesla’s Shanghai factory were being unjustly penalized for an incident that occurred earlier this year, in February, which resulted in the death of one worker.
A report issued by the Pudong government on April 12 disclosed that a mechanical accident occurred in the welding workshop of Tesla’s Shanghai factory on February 4th, which unfortunately led to the death of one worker.
As per the findings of the local government’s investigation, there was a lapse in Tesla’s safety management that indirectly contributed to the accident. The report also held the deceased worker responsible for the incident.
According to online posts by some employees, their quarterly bonuses have been reduced by approximately 2,000 yuan.
At the Shanghai plant, the starting base salary is approximately 5,340 yuan ($777) per month, with potential additional earnings from overtime work, shifts, as well as annual and quarterly bonuses in certain instances.
According to a job posting on the official WeChat account of the state-owned Lingang Group, which offers recruitment services for companies in the area, employees can earn approximately 110,000-120,000 yuan per year before taxes, which includes bonuses and overtime pay. This level of compensation is consistent with that offered by other Chinese and international manufacturers in the region.
Tesla is scheduled to announce its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Investors and analysts will be closely examining the extent to which its recent electric vehicle price cuts have impacted its leading margins within the industry.
($1 = 6.8763 Chinese yuan renminbi)