Tesla CEO Elon Musk has praised Chinese workers while taking a dig at American employees during an online interview with Financial Times. He lauded Chinese workers for “burning the 3 am oil” while remarked about Americans “avoiding work”.
“Well, I think the company making the most progress besides Telsa is actually VW, which is not a start-up, but could be viewed as a start-up from the electrical vehicle standpoint, so VW is doing the most on the electric vehicle front,” the billionaire told FT.
“I think there will be very strong companies coming out from China. There are a lot of super-talented, hardworking people in China who strongly believe in the manufacturing,” Musk said.
“They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3 am oil. So, they won’t even leave the factory technically, whereas in America people are trying to avoid going to work at all,” Musk said as the interviewer chuckled.
Musk’s endorsement of long working hours did not go down well with netizens. Users slammed him for endorsing “slavery” and harsh working conditions.
Well he ain’t really lying, but it’s mostly the Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z. That hidden, unseen and unspoken Gen out there in the middle works hard AF. One of the reasons we’re unseen… We’re too busy trying to get stuff done.
— Grape Juice Overflow (@lovinGrapeJuice) May 12, 2022
Musk believes his employees should work 12 hrs a day 6 days a week. This statement from him is completely in line with how he runs his companies.
— AndreaS (@Nunny_S31) May 12, 2022
60 hours a week is normal. At least I’m allowed holiday sometimes. pic.twitter.com/3bOCRi7gSp
— RealNewsChannel (@newsbreakingch) May 13, 2022
If he did, he endorses their version of slavery, which isn’t the American way.
— Kevin Martin (@Irishk9Kevin) May 12, 2022
So, to be clear, Musk’s “vision” for the US worker is forced labor, companies making employees live at factories, no worker protections, poverty wages and a race to the bottom that benefits corporate interests?
Huh…that sounds REALLY bad.
— Nathaniel Guthrie (@WoodGuthriempls) May 12, 2022
How to make Americans hate you by Elon Musk.
— Linda Schoenberg (@LindaSchoenberg) May 12, 2022
Unless one likes working at a sweat shop. For slave wages.
— Damon Germaine Walton (@3tourvet2021) May 12, 2022
This time I don’t agree with Elon.
Chinese people work almost the entire day for miserable salaries. Nobody wants to live like this.
— The Equalizer (@Dark_Panth3r) May 12, 2022
It was a generalized statement. Maybe could’ve had better execution though because I know plenty like myself with permanently callused hands and a crippled spine due to literal hard, grueling work… because there was no other option. Severe poverty can enduce hella motivation
— KRose (@KurtisRose87) May 12, 2022
This is a real problem in the workplace and schools. #fallingbehind https://t.co/Z8qEudFWsh
— Jason Christine (@jasonchristine) May 13, 2022
Avoiding work is when you want to spend time with your children and go to Church on Sundays https://t.co/GCXexWkqYg
— Vinny III (@VinnyTheKiddd) May 12, 2022
Amid the stringent Covid lockdown in Shanghai, Telsa Inc restarted production in April, this year. A memo cited by Bloomberg said the company would provide a bag and mattress to each worker who would sleep on the floor in a designated area. The Bloomberg report also said that employees were asked to work 12 hours a day, continuously for six days with one day off.
Meanwhile, the electric vehicle manufacturing company was sued in February this year by the state of California over alleged discrimination against Black employees in the Bay Area flagship factory, New York Post reported.
Musk had endorsed long working hours earlier as well. In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher, Musk said in 2018, “I haven’t counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week,” he said. “Some of those must have been 120 hours, or something nutty. You’re gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week.” Further talking about working hours in Telsa, he said, “Now we’re down to 80 or 90. It’s pretty manageable.”