Furious Tesla workers in Shanghai are reportedly grumbling online after Elon Musk’s firm slashed their performance bonus payouts – and some social media posts went as far as to petition the billionaire’s mother, supermodel Maye Musk, for help.
Impacted employees at the Tesla plant began blasting the company’s decision to cut payouts in posts on social media platforms and online forums last week, Reuters reported, citing a review of the messages and interviews with workers.
Many of the posts reportedly appeared on Chinese forums such as Baidu Tieba.
Other critics of Tesla’s reported cuts expressed their concerns on Twitter – despite the fact that the platform is blocked in China.
In one case, a Twitter user with the handle @AFeiywu tagged Maye Musk’s account and asked her to look into the matter.
Musk’s mother recently visited Tesla’s Shanghai facilities during a two-week trip to China.
“Please pay attention to the performance (bonus) of frontline workers at Tesla’s Shanghai factory being arbitrarily deducted,” the user tweeted. It’s unclear if the user is a Tesla employee or a supporter.
The report cited two Tesla employees who said their managers had revealed a cut to their quarterly performance-based bonuses.
The supervisors purportedly blamed the reduction on a recent “safety incident” at the plant.
Some of the online posts criticizing Tesla alleged the bonus cuts were linked to a fatal incident on Feb. 4 in which a worker was killed in an accident at the plant’s welding workshop.
Local authorities reportedly determined the worker was at fault but identified an “oversight” in safety protocols as an indirect factor.
Workers said their quarterly payouts were reduced by 2,000 yuan – the equivalent of roughly $290.
Employees reportedly earn a starting salary of 5,340 yuan per month, or about $776, at the plant, plus overtime and bonuses.
The Post has reached out to Tesla for comment.
Aidan Chau, a researcher at the labor rights group China Labor Bulletin in Hong Kong, said companies will occasionally charge for on-site safety incident.
“Deducting the performance bonus, which should be related to workers’ output and has nothing to do with work safety, is even more unfair,” Chau told Reuters.
Musk has been effusive in his praise of Tesla’s Shanghai workers in the past.
“There’s just a lot of super-talented, hard-working people in China that strongly believe in manufacturing and they won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they’ll be burning the 3 am oil,” Musk said at an event last May.
“They won’t even leave the factory, type of thing, whereas in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all,” Musk added at the time.
The Shanghai plant is a key international manufacturing hub for Tesla.
Production has ramped out since China ended COVID-19 lockdowns that briefly forced the Shanghai facility to shut down.
With Post wires
A multi-lingual talent head, Allen is fluent in languages such as Spanish, Russian, Italian, and many more. He has a special curiosity for the events and stories revolving in and around US and caters an uncompromising form of journalistic standard for the audiences.