Feeds

Achtung! German Amazon workers out on strike

In a very orderly and efficient manner

High performance access to file storage

Hundreds of workers at web bazaar Amazon’s central depot in Germany have walked out on strike in protest over working conditions and pay.

Around 500 people protested on Tuesday at the box-crammers' Bad Hersfeld site, which is one of seven distribution points in the country.

It is the first time Amazon workers have launched industrial action in Germany. Bad Hersfeld employs between 3,200 and 3,600 workers, according to estimates in the German press.

Heiner Reimann, spokesman for Germany's Verdi services sector union, told AFP he was pleased with the results of the strike.

He wants a change in the way workers’ contracts are handled and pay increases, but talks with management have so far failed to bring about the changes the union demands.

Workers at an Amazon depot near Leipzig have also voted to strike, although the time and date of the action have not yet been confirmed.

Amazon insisted that "staff at logistics centers in Germany were paid in the upper range of the usual rates in the industry” and received regular bonuses as well as shares after two years of employment.

The German tentacle of the giant parcel-pusher recently fired a security firm called Hensel European Security Services (HESS) after claims it was linked with Neo-Nazi groups.

The company was supposedly named after Hitler's second-in-command Rudolf Hess, and reportedly employed shaven-headed security guards who wore black outfits and Thor Steinar jackets - a clothing brand favoured by the Teutonic far-right.

Seasonal staff claimed the security guards intimidated and bullied employees, particularly non-Germans.

At the time, Amazon insisted it operated a "zero-tolerance" approach to "discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies it works with".

The GMB trade union in the UK launched protests across Britain outside Amazon depots in January. Union activists claimed that Amazon was “dodging fair taxes” and attacked the supposedly “Victorian” methods it used to employ casual workers.

A GMB spokeswoman told the Reg today that Amazon were “the pits” and predicted more protests.

Paul Clarke, GMB National Organiser, has organised protests against Amazon's "fulfilment centres".

He commented:

"This isn't going to go away. Amazon employees need to be treated better."

In 2011 fifteen Amazon workers in the US were hospitalised after being made to stack shelves in temperatures of 38°C.

Are you a worker who wants to blow the whistle on working conditions? Contact The Reg - journalists can be reached by clicking on the bylines at the top of stories. Be aware that not all comments or forum posts are read by staff. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.