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Growing Concerns Over Greater Liberty By Authorities To Tesla For Its German Gigafactory

Growing Concerns Over Greater Liberty By Authorities To Tesla For Its German Gigafactory
Environmental groups in Germany are up in arms against local authorities granting special permission to Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk for hosting a county fair in the small town of Gruenheide this Saturday. According to reports, local authorities have bucked a pandemic-related curb of allowing the gathering of fewer than 5,000 people and permitted Musk to host a total of 9,000 people for the fair.
It is also expected that Tesla will get permission for building its factory in the town within weeks.
Environmental groups further say that allowing tesla to gather so many people is another example of too much leeway being given to tesla to behave disruptively in Germany which they fear will be continued by the United States-based electric car maker.
No comments on the issue were available from Tesla.
Tesla has been granted pre-approvals by the local authorities for building even though the final approval is pending. While this is a legal process in Germany since the risks associated with a final disapproval are immense as Tesla will have to pay for breaking down the construction already done. 
However, the influence on German business culture that Musk can have is being welcomed by some – who argue the restrictiveness of regulations that govern planning, jobs, and environmental concerns in Germany. On the other hand, there are some who lament that Musk's approach is like throwing German caution to the wind.
"I am fully convinced Tesla can have a positive effect on Germany," Brandenburg's economy minister Joerg Steinbach, a prominent advocate of the factory, told the news agency Reuters.
"The fundamental idea of taking a close look at current legislation and checking whether it could perhaps be modernised - without risking a loss to legal clout - is in my opinion absolutely worth considering."
The powerful unions of Germany are already preparing to strongly fight for German-style contracts for Tesla employees. On the other hand, any further expansion plans by the company will be opposed by environmental groups. There are growing concerns among locals of Gruenheide about the 'American' ways of Musk of closely monitoring every move of the company.
"Tesla has to stick to environmental protection laws, building laws, and of course labor and unionization laws," Birgit Dietze, head of the Brandenburg region for union IG Metall and a former member of Volkswagen's supervisory board, said.
In April this year, Musk wrote to the authorities that the complex planning requirements of Germany were against the urgent nature of the issue of climate change which is Musk’s way of expressing his displeasure with German laws and processes.
The company had previously announced that upon being operational, its German factory will churn out 500,000 electric vehicles annually while also generating 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery capacity which will highest for any factory in the nation.
According to IG Metall, Tesla has offered 20 per cent less pay for its workers than the collectively bargained wages given to employees by other German automakers. This was revealed after negotiations for pay between Tesla and the union and applicants. Musk is also known to not have good relations and opinions about organized labor unions.
It is also upending traditional German contracts by offering package deals.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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