Amazon to investigate exploitation claims
Internet retailer Amazon has vowed to investigate claims that its German subsidiary exploits foreign workers to cope with the Christmas trade.
The German state broadcaster claimed the workers, hired from all over Europe on temporary contracts, were searched and intimidated by security guards from a company allegedly run by far-right extremists.
The documentary followed workers from Spain who said they were attracted to work for Amazon under false pretences. Shortly before leaving for Germany, they were informed they would be working for a job agency for 12 per cent less pay than originally agreed. Workers complained of walking up to 17km per shift in massive depots; others said they worked 15 hours without a break. Undercover filming suggested the temporary employees were closely watched at all times by booted, skinhead security guards.
Employees complained the guards frisked them regularly and searched workers’ quarters.
“They go into the house when the people are not there, also when they are there, sleeping or in the shower,” said Silvina, a middle-aged art teacher from Spain. Another Spanish woman told the filmmakers: “They say they are the police here.”
The guards work for a company called Hess security, supposedly a reference to Nazi Rudolf Hess, and wear “Thor Steinar” clothing popular with neo-Nazis and banned by Amazon from its online store.