International Amazon Workers’ Meeting
Poznan, September 11–13, 2015
We – Amazon workers from Poland and Germany plus supporters – met for three days in Poznan. This is the second such meeting after one we held in Bad Hersfeld in Spring this year. The meetings are organized by the participating Amazon workers themselves, independent from the respective union. We are a solidarity network that looks for answers to Amazon’s strategies and coordinates the struggle for common interests.
This time, we distributed leaflets in front of the Amazon warehouse in Poznan-Sady, held a public meeting with presentations on the situation at Amazon in Poznan, Bad Hersfeld and Brieselang, and organized a rally and interviews with the media. Then we held the workers’ meeting and discussed the situation in different Amazon warehouses and our common activities to improve the working conditions in the future.
Our exchange revealed that Amazon workers in different countries face the same problems – low wages, increasing norms, high work pressure leading to health problems, Amazon’s employment practice of hiring and firing, and more. When confronted with workers’ demands, Amazon uses similar strategies in all countries, for instance, threatening workers with layoffs, putting pressure on union activists, and negotiating without willing to make any concessions.
For everyone who participated in our meeting it is clear that we have to give collective answers – across different warehouses in different countries – in order to enforce improvements and more. In the future, Amazon will not be able to play us out against each other as long as we are joining forces and link up on the base, from worker to worker.
The exchange through the Amazon Workers’ Meetings can motivate, mobilize and empower workers across borders, even those who might not participate directly (yet). An example is the self- organized slow down in the Amazon warehouse in Poznan against overtime that expressed the worker’s dissatisfaction with the working conditions and was also a clear signal of solidarity with the strike of Amazon workers in Germany that was happening on the same day at the end of June.
We are also determined to deal with repression by Amazon. Workers from Amazon in Italy had planned to take part in our meeting, but one of them was fired just before the meeting so they had to deal with this attack and could not attend. We express our solidarity with these workers and are happy to hear that they are determined to take part in our future exchange and common actions!
For the next meeting – that will be timely announced on https://amworkers.wordpress.com – we invite not just the workers from Italy, but also those from the new Amazon warehouse near Prague, Czech Republic, and those of other Amazon warehouses across Europe.
In Poznan, all participants have reaffirmed their intention to organize common cross-border struggles in the future. Only if our fight is organized by workers themselves, rooted in our warehouse and coordinated with others, with a clear strategy and unpredictable for Amazon, will we have a chance to win!