A striking number of work accidents and dangerous environmental accidents: In extensive investigative research, Stern has uncovered numerous grievances at the German site of the US car manufacturer Tesla. You can find all articles on Tesla research here. You can see more about Tesla on Thursday evening at 10:35 p.m. on RTL; the documentary also marks the start of the new TV series “stern Investigative”. The serious violations at Elon Musk’s Gigafactory in Grünheide, Brandenburg, which the stern reports on in its current issue and on stern.de, are sharply criticized.

In view of the large number of work accidents, left-wing parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch is suggesting that the car manufacturer’s operating license be revoked. “An independent investigation into the events is the order of the day,” Bartsch told the star. “If the conditions cannot be improved quickly, a debate should ultimately be made about revoking the operating license.” Bartsch continued: “The increase in accidents at work is unacceptable. That doesn’t sound like jobs in a future industry, but rather like conditions from the early part of the previous century.”

Bartsch now sees Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) as having a duty. “Elon Musk wants to go to Mars, but can’t manage to protect his employees on Earth,” said Bartsch. “Dietmar Woidke should summon Musk to Brandenburg and demand clarification. But the Prime Minister must not shirk responsibility himself either. He should make it transparent whether standards were undermined for the settlement and what measures the country wants to take to effectively protect employees .”

Sebastian Walter, left-wing parliamentary group leader in Brandenburg, called for a committee of inquiry to fully clarify the matter. “All cards must be on the table now!” Walter was quoted as saying in a statement. “Elon Musk is playing Wild East in Brandenburg and the state government is rolling out the red carpet for him. In order to keep Tesla in the country, there are apparently attempts, covert and tricks.”

Clear words also come from the Union. “The numbers of accidents at work are worrying and well above the industry average,” said Dennis Radtke, deputy head of the CDU employee wing (CDA), to stern. “The responsible authorities and the company must ensure transparency. When it comes to dealing with collective wages and co-determination, one has the impression that rules for Tesla have only limited value with regard to employees.”

Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) was concerned about the many workplace accidents at Tesla. In the RTL/ntv interview he says: “In Germany, occupational safety also protects lives in case of doubt and that is why I am deeply concerned about the news that has come to the public about a large company.” Heil also made it clear: “I expect the responsible occupational safety authorities of the federal states to carry out consistent controls in order to protect health and life.”

“Health comes before profit – that also applies to Tesla in Grünheide,” said Dirk Schulze, the district manager of IG Metall for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony. “We have been concerned about occupational safety at Tesla in Grünheide for a long time. Numerous employees report to us about accidents and health problems. In some areas, this leads to sickness rates of up to 40 percent,” it said in a statement. “We call on the company to put all its efforts into improving working conditions, especially occupational safety and health protection.”

“Our worst fears were exceeded!” said the citizens’ initiative Grünheide and the Association for Nature and Landscape in Brandenburg e.V. after the Stern revelations. Rules don’t seem to apply to Tesla in Brandenburg. “This is only possible through massive political failure,” it said.

Economist Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the CAR Center Automotive Research in Duisburg, defended the US carmaker. “We know from Tesla that Elon Musk takes a very ‘unconventional’ approach and interprets the limits of legal requirements very ‘individually’,” Dudenhöffer told Stern. “But we need Elon as a major innovator, for example for Brandenburg and the auto industry.” So you have to “bring the two into balance,” demanded the car expert. “Throwing Elon into prison doesn’t do anything. Letting Elon get away with everything doesn’t work either.”

Tesla has been manufacturing electric cars in Grünheide since March 2022. Environmentalists and nature conservationists see danger because part of the factory is located in a water protection area. Tesla has dismissed concerns. According to the company’s latest information, around 11,000 employees work in the factory in Grünheide, producing around 250,000 vehicles per year. Tesla wants to expand the factory.