SpaceX fires at least 5 employees for openly criticizing Elon Musk
NBC News reported on June 17 that SpaceX fired 'at least 5 employees' for circulating a letter that was openly critical of the company founder and CEO, South African-born billionaire Elon Musk.
The letter, reportedly signed by an unknown number of SpaceX employees, complained about Elon Musk's public behavior, describing it as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment”.
This is not the only clash Musk has had with his employees recently. Reuters revealed on July 3 that the Tesla CEO, one of the wealthiest men in the world, had “a super bad feeling” about the economy and needed to cut 10% of the salaried staff at his electric automobile company.
Tesla executives got an e-mail the day before, demanding them to “pause all hiring worldwide”. In a follow-up e-mail, Musk commented that the company had become “overstaffed in many areas” but that “hourly headcount would increase”.
Musk also specified that these lay-offs would not affect “anyone actually building cars, battery packs or installing solar”.
The e-mails were sent not long after the South African-born billionaire gave employees working from home an ultimatum about returning to the office: “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned”.
Musk’s comments had immediate consequences: Tesla shares fell 9% after Reuters broke the news of the possible massive lay-offs.
The news was also met with resistance in Europe, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands, where Tesla has its EU headquarters. Labor laws and strong trade unions make it difficult to lay off employees without justification.
Pictured: Elon Musk visiting the Tesla Gigafactory in western Germany, in August 2021.
Tesla has almost 100,000 employees, according to the company’s annual SEC filing that is cited by Reuters. However, it doesn’t break down how these are divided between salaried and hourly employees.
What is true is that some believe that these are indicators of an upcoming global recession.
“Elon Musk has a uniquely informed insight into the global economy. We believe that a message from him would carry high credibility,” Adam Jonas, an analyst Morgan Stanley, expressed in a report cited by Reuters.
Many factors appear to have affected Tesla in the past few years. For example, the electric automaker has had a hard time restarting its Shanghai facilities due to the Covid-19 lockdown in the Chinese metropolis.
The Shanghai factory not only supplies Tesla customers in China, which represented over a third of Tesla’s sales in 2021, but all over Asia.
Inflation also hits a 40-year high in the United States, which has had quite an effect on the US economy that not even the world's wealthiest man can avoid.
At the time, people asked how would this affect Musk's plans to acquire Twitter.
The very same day Musk’s comments were made public, the waiting period expired for the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to demand a “second request” on suspicions of breaking antitrust laws.
Pictured: FTC Commissioner Lina Khan
However, the SpaceX founder decided to call off the deal after considering that the information provided by Twitter on its number of users was unsatisfactory.
Now the social media network is suing the South African billionaire for over one billion US dollars for unfulfilling their agreement.