Elon Musk praises Chinese workers’ long hours, criticizes Americans for ‘trying to avoid’ work

Elon Musk Chinese workers
  • SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk praised Chinese workers for working long shifts and criticized American employees for “trying to avoid going to work at all” during a recent interview with the Financial Times.
  • Musk mentioned that Tesla’s future competition in the electric vehicle industry might come from China: “There’s just a lot of super talented, hardworking people in China… who strongly believe in manufacturing.”
  • “They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they’ll be burning the 3 a.m. oil,” he added. “They won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all.”
  • Several Chinese workers organized a campaign last year to protest China’s grueling “996” work culture, which expects employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week.
  • Tesla currently has two factories in China. Last month, the company made its Chinese employees sleep on-site after production resumed following a three-week shutdown, according to Bloomberg.

Elon Musk praised Chinese workers for working long shifts and criticized American workers for “trying to avoid going to work at all” during a recent interview.

While speaking to the Financial Times, the 50-year-old CEO of SpaceX and Tesla was asked to name an electric vehicle start-up he finds impressive.

Despite it not being a start-up, Musk mentioned Volkswagen. He then said that Tesla’s future competition in the electric vehicle industry might come from China.

I think there will be some very strong companies coming out of China. There’s just a lot of super talented, hardworking people in China… who strongly believe in manufacturing,” Musk said.

They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they’ll be burning the 3 a.m. oil. They won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all,” he declared.

Several Chinese workers organized a campaign last year to protest China’s grueling “996” work culture, which expects employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. The campaign started several months after the death of a 22-year-old Chinese tech employee.

Tesla currently has two factories in China. Last month, the company made its employees sleep on-site after production resumed following a three-week shutdown, according to Bloomberg.

The move, which Tesla calls a “closed-loop system,” became mandatory to ensure that no further factory shutdowns would occur amid the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s strict zero-tolerance policy.

Tesla reportedly provided its Shanghai employees with meals, sleeping bags and mattresses. The company also established areas for its workers to sleep, relax, shower and eat. 

 

Featured Image via Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

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