Tesla is reportedly isolating thousands of workers at former factories and a military camp in China.
Bloomberg reports that this is part of the electric car maker’s attempt to ramp up production in Shanghai and ensure workers don’t contract the coronavirus.
The workers will be deployed during a second shift at the Shanghai Gigafactory, which shut down in March when the city went under lockdown but is now operating under a “closed-loop” system approved by Chinese authorities.
Workers are quarantined for two to three days to comply with regulatory requirements before interacting with remote workers. According to reports, the campsite is equipped with mobile toilets and showers, which are driven back and forth by bus between the accommodation and the workplace.
Tesla reportedly wanted to use the vacant isolation centers China had built to quarantine people who had contracted the coronavirus, but shutting down factories and the warehouse was “more feasible.”
According to reports, first-shift workers sleep on the factory floor. They have to work 12-hour shifts, six days a week to get production back up to speed. They were reportedly separated from their families and the outside world in general.
While the workers in this closed-loop system help boost production, the workers must share beds in what Bloomberg calls makeshift dormitories. Some employees work while others sleep before changing roles.
After the United States, China is the most important market for Tesla, which is producing over 2,000 vehicles a day at full speed, which are then exported to other parts of Asia and Europe.
Tesla didn’t respond that of the independent Request for comments. A Tesla representative in China told Bloomberg that there were no further updates to share about the factory’s status.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has praised Chinese workers in the past. “I think there’s going to be some very strong companies coming out of China, there’s just a lot of super-talented, hard-working people in China who really believe in manufacturing,” he said earlier this month.
“Not only will they burn the midnight oil, they will burn the 3 o’clock oil, they won’t even leave the factory while the people of America try not to go to work at all.”
According to a 2018 ruling, Mr Musk and Tesla have a history of illegally threatening and retaliating against employees when the billionaire suggested that employees who chose to join a union would give up stock options paid for by the company.
Last year, Mr Musk also applauded Xi Jinping. “The economic prosperity that China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure! I encourage people to visit and see for themselves,” Mr Musk tweeted.