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back to article Amazon ditches 'neo-Nazi' security firm over alleged harassment of workers

Amazon has ditched a security firm accused of mistreating temporary workers at one of the etailer's German warehouses in Bad Hersfeld. The web bazaar said it took the allegations against the warehouse guards "very seriously" and said it was terminating its contract with the company in question, Hensel European Security Services …

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Joke

I'm sorry, but the company is called Hess. What were they expecting?

Edit: Does anyone else think the Wikipedia photo of Rudolf Hess looks a lot like Liev Schreiber?

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Oi, I was just about to say that.

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Anonymous Coward

You mean that the Nazitübbies character was based on a real person?

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Facepalm

plus the place name: Bad Hersfeld gives a clue. doh.

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The pronounciation would be "Herrsfeld", so no. Just sounds like any spa to me.

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Amazon not out of the woods yet

The security firm and its apparent neo-nazi connections may be the most shocking part of the story but there are many questions as to whether Amazon and the companies supplying them with agency workers are in breach of employment and taxation laws.

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Holmes

Re: Amazon not out of the woods yet

It isn't at all clear from the story what the 'neo-Nazi' connections amount to. If it just that some Germanic NEDs wore their equivalent of Burberry shirts and baseball caps then that is not a lot to go on. All of which is not to deny that the guards sound like cocks.

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Re: Amazon not out of the woods yet

> in breach of employment and taxation laws

Who in central europe is NOT in breach of employment and taxation laws?

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ARD is not exactly a state broadcaster

Though there is some influence (which is already to much of course) from the government, it is legally designed not to be a state broadcaster. (except for one flaw)

Besides the ARD is a working group of broadcasters. The ARD by itself does not actually produce stuff. Local broadcasters provide content for it. (or commission content from external companies, etc)

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Seriously?

This sounds like a story out of the Onion (except Amazon would be defending the practice). They're famous for their harsh treatment of warehouse workers, but putting them in "camps" run by Nazis is taking it a bit far.

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Joke

Bad Hersfeld! Bad Hersfeld!

Go to your box!

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Re: Bad Hersfeld! Bad Hersfeld!

Nein Nein Nein!

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Coat

Re: Bad Hersfeld! Bad Hersfeld!

> Nein Nein Nein!

Emergency services, how may I help you?

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Anonymous Coward

Amazon is VERY sharp

trying to diffuse it so quickly, because this story of neo-nazi security guards (why has no one called them Gestapo yet? ;) could focus the attention of the media on uncomfortable allegations about VERY shitty pay and working conditions in Amazon, which some might, in the latest context, compare to a Konzentrationslager. And then:

a) you get a lot of unwanted attention from authorities, who want to be seen as acting against breaches, violations, etc, etc, AND when "Nazi" is concerned, this gives them an extra jolt. Actually this is actually already happening and they're investigating Amazon, for some worker-welfare "issues".

b) you might get a boycott of your corner shop which these days, is ah-so-easy to trigger off (see what happens to the poor folks who wanted to copyright, or patent the term "python" here ;). And there's been some talk of a boycott of Amazon already. And while it won't bring it down, nobody likes to lose money, even if it's a measly 100 million EUR.

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Facepalm

Re: Amazon is VERY sharp

> who wanted to copyright, or patent the term "python" her

It's called trademarking. Just sayin'

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Alert

Re: Amazon is VERY sharp

(why has no one called them Gestapo yet? ;)

Because, if you really wanted to risk legal action and go there, "SS Totenkopf" would be more accurate for nazi camp guards?

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I thought this article was going to be about the UK warehouse, there was a not so glowing report on their employment practices in the FT a couple of weekends back. I'm sure it won't be the last.

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Anonymous Coward

To be expected. Big cheap tax avoiding companies hardly have a glowing record.

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UK warehouses

Surely not, I'm confident that everyone working in the UK's private security industry are paragons of virtue.

Most of them are vegetarian Guardian readers just doing a vital role helping in the community.

The black outfits? well it's so sliming - and the 6D maglite holsters are just there in case there is a power cut aren't they?

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Joke

Re: UK warehouses

I'd never want to wear an outfit that was 'sliming'!! It might make me feel sluggish.

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Trollface

beware

Designer wear aside beware the man with the combat boots with white shoe laces (or laugh how pitiful his education and job prospects are). Still fascism is for people who don't understand history and the fact they are backing a team that lost very badly decades ago.

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Re: beware

I never understood all the hitler and nazi worship, they wernt just beaten, they were utterly trampled into the dust, and most of it was hitlers fault. He was a really bad commander who constantly overruled his experienced generals and made coked-up irrational millitary decisions that doomed the regime to failure.

The decision to break the pact with stalin and fight a war on 2 fronts was beyond idiotic.

Most of his early victories had more to do with alied incompetence and luck than any inate skill as a commander. The guy was a mentally ill fruitcake.

A lot of the advanced tech neo-nazi`s witter on about was squandered and misused due to his orders (using me262 jet fighters as bombers for instance).

A 1000 year reich that lasted less than 10, not really something to crow about really.

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Re: beware

You appear to be expecting rational thinking from racist neo-nazi thugs.

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Facepalm

Oh no, ANOTHER issue of "Der Spiegel" with Hitler on the front page coming

Every third week for the last 50 years....

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Their staff came from

countries with significant neo-Nazi organisations of their own.

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Is anyone really surprised?

As usual we all seem to love cheap as chips prices just as long as we don't know what makes them cheap as chips.

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Holmes

Re: Is anyone really surprised?

...superior distribution channels?

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FAIL

Did they miss the sign...

... over the front gate saying "Arbeit macht frei"?

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Oxymoronic

Commiserations to anyone unfairly treated, including anyone who lost their job that didn't deserve to.

It has to be said... "zero tolerance for discrimination" is an oxymoron, unless it's legalese.

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Stop

Another point of view

Not to be disrespectful, but if you employ migrents from poorer countries, a proportion of em are going to steal stuff to take back with them. Its common sense to suspect these people, look at all the thieving eastern european`s we have over here. The nazi thing is just a silly gutter press sensationalist headline i imagine, I doubt they were goosestepping round the `camp` zeig heiling and Quoting from mein kampf.

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Re: Another point of view

> Not to be disrespectful

Well actually, that suggestion IS disrespectful. Just because someone takes a job does not give the employer or someone carrying out a role for that employer any additional legal control over the individual. The suggestion of conflating corporate employment with total control over every aspect of life, including private life (really? private searching rooms is acceptable, or worse, necessary as you suggest?) is deeply worrying. And there IS a connection between nazi ideology and the type of corporate control you are suggesting is acceptable in this case. And it's not common sense to suspect "these people". It's prejudice. I would ask you to rethink the effect on the individuals concerned as fellow people, rather than consider this from the point of view of the corporate or your own prejudices.

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Re: Another point of view @Mr Fith

That is quite objectionable, Mr Fith. How many Eastern Europeans do you actually know. What evidence do you have that a greater proportion of them are "thieving" than the local population, or any other person from a different country? Could it be that you are spouting shit?

Disclaimer: my wife is Czech and working in the UK in a very responsible university post. She and her family would rather not have something than steal, and I have no reason to believe that they are wide of the norm.

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Re: Another point of view

Disrespectful is your lack of knowledge when it comes to geography. Most of the workers who came here came from Central Europe, not Eastern Europe. Back to school I would suggest to you.

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Re: Another point of view @Mr Fith

You are quite right, I fell into the dailymailesque `tar the whole community for the crimes of a few`, and for that i apologize. A lot of employers do privately think like this though, which was the point i was trying (very badly) to make.

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Stop

There's something

a bit "witch-hunty" about all this. The first line in the article is the trigger: that this security company was "accused" of habouring neo-Nazi sympathies being the reason for contract termination is actually a cause for concern. Was a proper, impartial investigation conducted to establish these claims? All we have to go on are some claims by workers and a "documentary" by a local media outlet - and this was enough to justify terminating a contract and publicly smearing someone's business?

Like "paedophile" and "terrorist", "neo-Nazi" seems to have become a common witch-hunt attack - the mere accusation is enough to ruin you, with or without proof or evidence. This sort of thing really does need to be watched very carefully, not only because of the travesty of justice that it entails, but also because it can easily undermine, by turning them into "witch-hunt victims", efforts to identify and bring real paedophiles, terrorists and neo-Nazis to justice.

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Re: There's something

I don't know the facts myself, but I sort of assumed the "documentary" people would "document" some evidence before making any allegations?

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Re: There's something

The media outlet that made the documentary may very well have gathered evidence. But media bias is a well-known phenomenon; in fact it's the primary driver of the witch-hunt mentality I'm concerned about. Selective evidence gathering is an obvious part of this process. What if you were in that business's position; who would you trust more - a team of police investigators out to uphold the law, or a two-bit media outlet out to make a quick sensationalist buck?

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Public/Internet pressure has worked...

Thanks to the ARD program, a campaign was started on sumofus.org - a pressure group for consumer and worker fairness.

http://action.sumofus.org/a/amazon-nazis/

In less than 6 days, Amazon have caved in.

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Anonymous Coward

apply it to every one

i think the problem is that the atention was not applied fairly.

EVERYBODY should be searched my experaince is that the rich as well as the hungery will steal anything they can,

send the nazi's to PNG i got a job for them.

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