Final Statement of the cross-border meeting of Amazon workers in Poznań, April 21–23, 2017
Amazon still does everything to make its employees in warehouses and delivery centers work under conditions which make them sick and wear them out within a few years.
In Poland in 2016, the restrictive labour law prevented a strike at Amazon that over 2000 workers had voted for in a strike ballot. Now workers who fight back get sacked there under the pretext of low productivity or sickness.
In France Amazon tries to push through effective wage cuts.
In Germany too, Amazon uses sickness as a pretext to terminate workers, press them to sign severance agreements or fail to renew their contracts. The strikes organized by the union Ver.di continue but have not been able to win protection through a collective agreement.
In all cases Amazon’s management which made record profits last year showed that it sees workers merely as a means to profit maximization.
Resistance at militant and strike-willing Amazon locations remains difficult because without broad international resistance the globally operating company will be able to transfer the processing of orders to other warehouses and countries, thereby avoiding the impacts of strikes.
Therefore, an effective struggle at or against Amazon needs to be fought and coordinated across borders and has to consider the different experiences of workers.
That’s why Amazon workers and supporters from Poland, France, and Germany met in Poznań from April 21 to 23 to exchange their experiences.
As during the previous meetings in 2015 and 2016 union memberships or mandates played no role because for the participants this is about a self-organized communication beyond hierarchical organizational structures.
Even more than during the meetings in 2015 and 2016 this time the focus was on strategies of fighting back. Because of widely varying wages and legal situations between locations in different countries, the most obvious common reference points were not collective agreements or wage demands but the despotic and sickening working and health conditions faced by workers in all Amazon locations.
The participants decided to put these conditions in the center of a common campaign “Amazon makes us sick!” and to put pressure on Amazon through action days in order to improve the conditions.
Poznań, April 2017