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back to article Achtung! German Amazon workers out on strike

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 …

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Gold badge
Happy

An idea

Could they not just move the depot from Bad Hersfeld to Good Hersfeld, this solving all their problems at a stroke.

I'm available for management consultancy work, at reasonable prices, should Mr Bezos need me...

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Re: An idea

Actually in 2005 the town of "Kötzting" legally changed its name to "Bad Kötzting".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_K%C3%B6tzting

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Silver badge

Presumably

Amazon will just fulfil the orders from other depots in other countries.

Welcome to the world of globalisation where the rest of us have to live.

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Re: Presumably

Indeed - the last 3 items I've ordered from Amazon Germany have shipped from Dunfermline... which suits me, because it's just over the Forth :)

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Anonymous Coward

Get back to work....

... I've got orders pending!

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Anonymous Coward

Now back to vork !

Or you vill be schott, erm ve mean fired.

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Holmes

more info please

So the obvious question that would put this whole thing in context and tell us wether its a storm in a teacup or a human rights abuse (whose right in other words) is

"How much are they earning?"

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Re: more info please

There was a big scandal here over Christmas and New Year, with the national TV station reporting on conditions there. The seasonal workers were flown in, with the promise of good wages, then forced to sign a contract for half that, or pay for their own flight back home...

Then there was the security, they would frisk workers as they left the warehouse (not totally unknown in other copanies and industries), but the security would also rifle through the workers rooms in the holiday village that Amazon used to house the workers.

Transport was also once per shift, which meant if you weren't out of the warehouse puntucally, you would have to wait several hours for the next bus back to the holiday village...

I don't know what permanent employees earn.

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Re: more info please

More info indeed required! How are we expected to know what "over here" means to big_D, who gives no indication of location?

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Re: more info please

Sorry, here in Germany...

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Re: more info please

hey thanks for the info D

Seems very exploitative with the seasonal workers. Hopefully no ones lives were ruined if it was only a 5 or 6 week contract anyway

word will get around for next year .......

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Anonymous Coward

GMB Union...

...in favour of a 'pits' closure?

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Big Brother

My Prediction

There's going to be a lot of Spanish seasonal workers replaced by Rumanians in a big warehouse in Bad Hersfeld.

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Re: My Prediction

I saw that documentary and it was hair-raising. Systematic, brutish abuse of staff. Every conceivable loophole in the law being used to cheat and rob people who were in no position to argue.

In my forty-odd years of dealing with them one thing I have learned is that the Germans believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, so these sorts of shenanigans (which have been standard practice in the UK for decades - see recent pieces on UK TV news about zero hours contracts) did indeed cause revulsion amongst the populace there.

Not to mention disgust in my house. My opinion of Amazon was radically influenced, not in a positive way.

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Unhappy

Re: My Prediction

Saw it too. I'll never buy from Amazon again.

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Re: My Prediction

"I saw that documentary and it was hair-raising. Systematic, brutish abuse of staff. Every conceivable loophole in the law being used to cheat and rob people who were in no position to argue."

Wait, is that Amazon or the US Congress?

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Re: My Prediction

I didn't get to see that documentary. Does anybody know whether it is available anywhere online ?

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Re: My Prediction

@CaptSmegHead: Here's the video. (How's your German?)

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Re: My Prediction

Thanks Ralph. My german is sehr gut.

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FAIL

ORL?

"as well as shares after two years of employment"

Sure they do... except most of the staff are temporary and are recycled every few months

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Those orders are piling up

Orders which must be obeyed at all times.

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Silver badge

It takes quite a bit...

...to get germans to strike.

It takes even more to get casual workers of any nationality (usuallly non-unionised) to strike.

They must be pretty pissed off.

WRT the heatstroke story: There is no legal maximum temperature for British Workplaces. Several offices at $orkplace regularly exceed 42C (100F) in summer. I'm surprised noone here has been a victim.

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Silver badge

Re: It takes quite a bit...

Warehouse, factory floor and kitchen temps here regularly exceed 100F. Those workers that fell out simply weren't staying hydrated otherwise there wouldn't have been a problem. Either that or they were just a bunch of panty waists.

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Re: It takes quite a bit...

Yes, temperatures in factories and kitchens do regularly exceed 38c/100f but the law states that any time a worker feels their health is in danger (such as feeling dehydrated in this case) their supervisor must allow them to recover before putting them back to work. Something the supervisors involved in the warehouse incident denied the workers.

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Unhappy

Re: It takes quite a bit...

Oh. Then yes that is bad & the supervisors should be severely punished. Thanks for the info!

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Anonymous Coward

Legislation

We have this, and it is generally effective.

I thought equivalents were pretty much universal. Apparently not?

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Re: Legislation

No - and because there's no maximum in the UK, employers can pretty much brush off complaints by staff.

Unpaid staff (such as postgrad students in universities) have even less protection. Unsurprisingly, universities house them accordingly.

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Anonymous Coward

I hope the workers win

Amazon is all about worker exploitation, IMO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope the workers win

yes

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Anonymous Coward

former amazon customer

I was a US customer of Amazon until 2012 (about $25,000 USD total in that time). After I heard about workers in Pennsylvania being forced to work in the extreme heat, to the point that a local emergency room physician finally blew the whistle and reported Amazon to the U.S. Occupational and Health Administration, I decided I would never spend another penny at Amazon.

I applaud the German workers and wish that all Americans would stand up for their fellows by boycotting Amazon for life, as I have.

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