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Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD)

Photo: IMAGO / IMAGO/Political-Moments

"Every accident at work is one too many": Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) has called on the US electric car manufacturer Tesla to be more transparent after a report on frequent accidents at work and environmental accidents. "Tesla must eliminate any problems that arise and deal transparently with public allegations. Otherwise, trust will be gambled away," Woidke told the dpa news agency.

In the »Tagesspiegel« (Friday/online) he added: »Tesla must clarify these allegations, and completely. Tesla needs to create transparency." Communication must improve.

According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, seven serious accidents at work have occurred at the Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin since 2021. The ministry did not classify the figures as unusual, citing regular checks. The "star" reported a striking number of reportable occupational accidents between June and November 2022. Since its opening in March 2022, there have also been 26 environmental accidents, according to the State Environment Agency. The company had dismissed concerns.

"In its own interest, Tesla is well advised to take occupational safety and environmental protection very seriously," said Woidke. He rejected the accusation of a lack of controls. "Our occupational health and safety authority is regularly on site – even unannounced. Due to the size of the factory, this has been done much more often since the construction phase than at other companies.« Tesla currently has around 11,000 employees in Brandenburg, according to the company's latest figures.

Committee of inquiry into Tesla unlikely

The Greens in the state parliament also demanded steps from Tesla to reduce the number of workplace accidents. "My expectation of the company is that, of course, it will do everything it can, firstly to clarify the facts of the case and, secondly, to explain to us what measures they are now taking," said parliamentary group chairman Benjamin Raschke. »Every company has a duty to ensure that there are as few accidents at work as possible.« Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had expressed "deep concern".

The demand for a committee of inquiry by the Brandenburg state parliament currently has no prospect of success. Although the AfD and the Free Voters are basically open to the proposal of Left Party leader Sebastian Walter, the other two opposition groups reject a committee before the 2024 state election.

According to the constitution, a committee of inquiry in the Brandenburg state parliament must be set up if one-fifth of the deputies demand it, i.e. at least 18 out of 88 deputies. There is less than a year left until the state elections, and four committees of inquiry are already underway.