The half-hour investigative program explored tiny temporary accommodation, unreliable bus transportation to and from Amazon offices, temporary and unsecured contracts, as well as the last-minute outsourcing of work contracts to employment agencies - reportedly paying less than the wages advertised on the original job application.
It also displayed a heavy presence of security staff from a company called H.E.S.S (Hensel European Security Services), with the program questioning a possible allusion to Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess. The security firm was contracted by an employment agency, not Amazon directly.
Employees are currently carrying out a series of strikes to force the company to raise wages and improve working and living conditions.Amazon employs about 9,000 workers in Germany, but many are on short-term contracts. The corporate behemoth refuses to recognize its workers’ right to collectively bargain, a move that is not in line with other online retailers there. German retail union ver.di says Amazon is importing its anti-worker policies into the country.
Marcus Courtney, a technology and communications department head at Uni Global Union, a federation of trade unions, said the company’s stance is unacceptable:
In Germany, the idea that warehouse workers are going to be getting opposition from an employer when it comes to the right to organize, that’s virtually unheard-of.
Send a message to Jeff Bezos to tell him it is time for Amazon to improve the treatment of its German workers. You can also post a message of solidarity for Amazon workers in Germany on the union’s Facebook page. And to learn more about the movement, click here. The site is mostly in German, but you can still get a feel for the struggle.