The Tesla workers that are key to ensuring the automaker meets its lofty production targets are threatening to strike, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Employees at Grohmann Engineering, the German engineering company Tesla bought in November, are calling for a strike, claiming they have been making 30% below union wages ever since Tesla acquired the company, according to the report. Germany’s industrial trade union IG Metall could decide whether it will call for a strike by late Tuesday in order to negotiate new wages.
Tesla refuted the claim that Grohmann workers are making 30% below union wages to the WSJ, and said it doesn’t “anticipate any impact on the Model 3 timeline” if a strike occurs.
A Tesla spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The California-based automaker acquired Grohmann as part of an effort to further automate its factories and speed up production.
In the past, Tesla has experienced severe manufacturing issues, most notably with the Model X that suffered three years of delays. (The Model S also faced delays and was delivered in mid-2011 instead of 2010.)
The Model 3 will serve as Tesla’s greatest test yet and is slated to begin rolling off assembly lines by the end of this year. Tesla ultimately plans to sell 500,000 vehicles a year starting in 2018.
The electric car maker missed on deliveries in 2016 (it shipped 76,230 cars instead of its forecasted 80,000-90,000) and must now contend with the Model 3 on top of Model S and Model X production.
There’s a lot of pressure for Tesla to execute on the Model 3. The company is valued as high as Ford, despite selling a fraction of the vehicles.
Tesla factory workers in Fremont are looking to form a union due to difficult work conditions and “excessive mandatory overtime.”
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