Amazon workers in Hemel Hempstead and Amazon Flex workers: Let‘s learn from the struggles of our colleagues in Italy, Germany and Poland!

AmazonBW

It‘s peak season and work sucks the life out of us. The media presents us as victims, losing the competition with Amazon‘s robots. That sucks too. We can show them that we are no victims.

In Hemel Hempstead we have many problems:

  • The picking target of 120 is too high, and it‘s raining verbal and written warnings. Management makes temp workers hit higher targets for the season, and then makes the regulars reach those targets throughout the whole year. Power hour?! No, thanks!
  • PMP and Adecco pay low. They advertise £10 an hour, but you have to kill yourself with overtime to get it. Some guys work 60 hours plus. The more hours we work per week the less they have to pay per hour. We spend at least one hour unpaid per week waiting to get through security.
  • £4 a day for the bus is too much. It should be free.
  • Amazon, Adecco and PMP leave it up to the last minute to tell the temps when they are fired again. Some temps are given blue badges to look good.

Driving for Amazon Flex in West London ain’t so fun either:

  • The shifts per week are not guaranteed, often we make hardly enough and have to choose between food or petrol.
  • £52 for a 4-hour block doesn‘t leave much for us, once you reduce all the costs for the car, possible repairs, the risk of accidents or not being able to work, e.g. due to illness.
  • They pile more and more parcels onto drivers and give you a hard time if you bring them back when you run out of time.

Drivers and warehouse workers should get together, discuss a list of demands and take steps to lower stress at work. This is not impossible, other workers have done it:

  • In London, university cleaners – all of them migrants like most of us – went on strike for the London Living Wage of £10.20 and for sick pay and were successful. https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/
  • At XPO in Milton Keynes warehouse pickers from Bulgaria threatened management with strike and refused to work 72 hours a week (what management had pressured them to do)
  • In West London migrant workers of a sandwich factory wrote down a list of demands and collected around 100 signatures from colleagues. Dozens of them stopped working when management didn‘t give them an extra break during overtime
  • Self-employed couriers of various companies (Deliveroo etc.) are in struggle for better conditions. Twitter: @iwgb_clb

These seem like small steps, but they can create the basis for bigger steps, like those of Amazon workers in Poland, Germany, Italy and France.

  • Last month, on Black Friday, over half of permanent staff at the largest Amazon FC in Italy went on strike for the first time. Some temp workers (half working for Adecco) also ditched the fear and came on strike. They are asking for higher wages, better conditions and permanent contracts for all.
  • On the same day, workers at six FCs in Germany went on strike to support the Italians and ask for better pay and conditions. Amazon workers in Germany have a longer history of struggle, but the problem is that permanent and temp workers often don‘t struggle together. Wages in Germany and France are higher than in the UK, while working times are shorter.
  • In Poznan (Poland), the biggest Amazon FC in Europe was set up to undermine workers in Germany, who have been on strike several times. When Poznan workers formed their own independent union, Amazon management started paying them higher wages and improved working conditions, because they see workers‘ power.https://amworkers.wordpress.com dfs

The best thing is that workers from all these countries started to organise meetings together. They compare their conditions and discuss how they can fight together.

We want to invite you to meet and talk about the conditions here. If you are interested we get you in touch with Amazon workers from other FCs.

If you are a temp and live and work in West London area, we have regular meetings to support each other with problems at work, with landlords or the job centre.

If you need further support you can always contact the independent union IWW, we will always be of help.

Our Solidarity Network meets regularly between 5pm and 6pm, you can always see us there for advice and support:

  • First Monday of the month: McDonald’s Greenford, Retail Park, UB60UW
  • Third Monday of the month: Asda Café, Park Royal, NW107LW
  • Fourth Monday of the month: Poornima Café, 16 South Rd. Southall, UB1 1RT

Industrial Workers of the World

07544338993 / westlondon@iww.org.uk / http://www.iww.org.uk

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Invitation to the Transnational Amazon Workers‘ Meeting in Leipzig (Germany), January 26-28, 2018

Amazon workers from France, Germany and Poland want to invite all workers at Amazon to the next international meeting in Leipzig (Germany), January 26-28, 2018. It is open to all workers regardless of union labels and nationality.

The meeting in Leipzig continues the international exchange of Amazon warehouse workers on our everyday survival and resistance at work. Since 2015 there have been several meetings in France, Germany and Poland.

The first meetings mainly focused on the exchange about working conditions and experiences in the struggle. In April 2017 we took a step further. We developed common claims concerning the health conditions on the shop floor. And we organized a first common action on an international level: The ‘Safe Package’ action, which called workers in France, Germany and Poland to stick to the safety and health regulations in the FCs.

In January 2018 we want to discuss the results of this action and develop it further. We also want to talk about other possible actions, exchange experiences and deepen the international cooperation.

We are connected every day through international commodity circulation. We need to share our perspectives on work and self-organization as well as the similar problems we have: Precarious conditions, temp contacts, pressure of rates and feed-backs, permanent control via scanners and computers, and more.

Dear dockers, shippers, packers, pickers, receivers, stowers! It is time again for an “all hands” – this time for the sake of our own and not the company’s interests! We know that the struggle at Amazon can be won only internationally.

Organizational issues:

Preliminary schedule:

Friday, January 26, 2 pm: We want to start with a common action at the FC in Leipzig

Friday, January 26, 6 pm: We want to share and discuss information about what’s going on in the different FCs

Saturday, January 27: The meeting will start at 9 am and last all day; in the evening there will be enough time to get to know each other and “have fun“

Sunday, January 28, 10 am: organizational issues, important dates, next meetings. The meeting will be finished Sunday around noon.

Languages: At the meeting we will speak Polish, German, French, and English. All languages are welcome. We will invite interpreters so everybody can take part – please tell us, if you do need other languages as well..

Money: The meeting is for free, of course.

Travel cost: If you do need support for your travel costs, we’ll try to help you out. But since we are independent of big organizations we can’t promise anything

Accommodation: You can stay in a hostel. We will organize the reservation for you. Since we are independent of big organizations, we might ask you for some financial contribution.

Registration:
We ask you to register as soon as possible per email to amaworkers(at)openmailbox.org. Please tell us, if you do need a special diet, child care and if you want to stay in a hostel. You will get more information about the venue, accommodation, the schedule and everything else you need to know after your registration.

For more information and translations of this invitation see https://amworkers.wordpress.com

Financially supported by

Billboard Poznań

Werbetafel in Poznań:

Amazon – Ausbeutung ohne Grenzen.

Arbeiter in Polen: 11 Złoty netto pro Stunde, 10 Stunden am Tag

Jeff Bezos: 1.440.000 Dollar pro Stunde, 24 Stunden am Tag

Billboard in Poznań:

Amazon – exploitation without borders

Workers in Poland: PLN 11 net per hour, 10 hours per day

Jeff Bezos: USD 1,440,000 per hour, 24 hours per day

Safe Package – Greeting from Leipzig

Greeting from Germany to our companions in Poland and France

Together we are strong! Only together we are able to move Amazon!

Dear Amazonians in Poland and France,

Your colleagues from Germany are sending you solidarity greetings and wish you success with the action „Safe Package“ during the Amazon-Prime-Week!

This week extensive strikes and actions have been and are taking place in Germany in various FCs. On the 12th of July we also called for „Safe Package“ before we went on strike a couple of hours later.  Thereby we want to underline that we are part of an international movement!

Further „Safety Days“ will follow, other FCs will join us, too. Let‘s continue in a coordinated manner.   Our payment may be quiet different, but one issue unites us: Our working conditions! We are exposed to uniform standards, processes, work instructions.  And we do not want only to get a decent payment, but we also want work under healthy working conditions! This common claims constitute the base for common action.

Let‘s keep on fighting together for healthy work and fair payment!  We are looking forward to common actions –  or even common strikes!

Amazonians from Leipzig (LEJ), Germany, organized in ver.di

Final Statement of the April 2017 cross-border meeting

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

 

International Amazon Workers’ Meeting

Amazon Workers from Germany, Poland and France are inviting to an International Workers Meeting in Poznan, Poland, April 21 to 23.

The meeting continues the international exchange of Amazon warehouse workers on our everyday survival and resistance at work. Since 2015, we have met a few times in Germany, Poland and France.

This exchange already contributed to common actions: spreading leaflets about demands of colleagues, support during strikes, spreading information in the media, and a kick of empowerment for the participants!

Our network is open to all workers regardless of union labels and nationality.

We are connected every day through commodity circulation, and we need to share our perspectives on work and self-organization as well as the similar problems we have: precarious conditions, temp contacts, pressure of rates and feed-backs, permanent control via scanners and computers, and more.

Dear dockers, shippers, packers, pickers, receivers, stowers! It is time for an “all hands” – this time for the sake of our own and not the company’s interests! We know that the struggle at Amazon can be won only internationally.

Organizational issues:

Time schedule: We start on Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m. with an open meeting; on Saturday, April 22, the meeting will start at 9 a.m. and last all day; in the evening we will „have fun and make history“ (no work!); Sunday, April 23, in the morning will be time for organizational agreements. The meeting will be finished Sunday around noon.

Languages: At the meeting we will speak Polish, German, French, and English. All languages are welcome. We will invite interpreters so everybody can take part.

Money: The meeting is for free, of course, but we will collect donations for food and beverages.

Accommodation: You can stay in hostels (approximately 5 euros per night). We will organize the reservation after your registration and send you more information about the hostel, the venue of the meeting, etc.

Registration:
We ask you to register as soon as possible per email to amaworkers(at)openmailbox.org

For more information and translations of this invitation see https://amworkers.wordpress.com

International meeting of Amazon workers – February 2016

18-21 February 2016 in Berlin

Dear workmates!

after the successful meeting in Poznan (Poland) last September, Amazon workers from Poland and Germany are inviting to the meeting and exchange – this time in Berlin, 18-21 February 2016.

In Germany, workers‘ struggle at Amazon has gained momentum again over the last weeks and months. Dozens of small and big strikes before and during the Christmas peak show that Amazon employees keep fighting. In Poland, collective action lies ahead since Amazon management have broken off arbitration.

Following up on the direct exchange of workers in September we will be organising the next meeting in Berlin in February to continue our exchange about working conditions. This exchange is central as Amazon systematically keeps spreading misinformation. We also want to discuss our further struggle and to plan common action. Because we know that the struggle at Amazon can be won only internationally. 

Languages

We will speak Polisch, German, French and English. All languages are welcome. We are inviting many interpreters.

Organisational questions

We are still settling the coverage of costs and places to sleep. They also depend on the number of participants, therefore we ask you to register as soon as possible. 

Registration: Internationales.Treffen@googlemail.com

More information: https://amworkers.wordpress.com/

 

Final Statement

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!

International Amazon Workers Meeting

11-13 September in Poznań
Hi there workmates!

Amazon Workers from Poland and Germany are inviting to a meeting and debate about workers‘ anger, workplace struggles and organising.

Ever since Amazon opened its first German Fulfillment Center (FC) in Bad Hersfeld in 1999 management have been threatening to shut down the plant. In the meantime however it has opened eight new FCs in Germany, four in France, one in Italy, three in Poland (2014) and one in the Czech Republic (2015).

There have been more than 20 strikes in six German and French FCs alone over the last two years. These strikes and other workplace actions have been hurting Amazon and have already led to improved working conditions and slowly rising wages in some FCs. Amazon has responded by shifting work to other FCs in Germany or across the borders to France and Poland.

There is also a constant flow of false information about wages, work norms and premiums in other FCs. We don’t want Amazon to cheat us or to set us up against our workmates from neighbouring countries.

That is why we call for a meeting in order to get to know each other and organise across the borders. We want to talk about details regarding wages, premiums and norms and compare conditions across FCs. We want to collect information about collective actions like T-shirt actions, petitions, „talking to lorry drivers“ when they load and unload, as well as strikes. We also want to debate which actions were useful and which might have been mistakes to be avoided next time. And lastly we also want to talk about how we can coordinate our actions on an international
level in the future.

Programme:

The meeting will begin on Friday afternoon with a collective leafleting action in Poznan. On Friday evening we will invite the public and selected media to an open meeting to inform about the situation in different FCs. We would also like to have a common debate with workers from other plants and everyone interested, obviously including future Amazon workers.

On Saturday and Sunday we will have discussions in the general assembly of all participants as well as in smaller workshops.

Languages:

The meeting will be in Polish, German, French and English. All languages are welcome. We will invite many interpreters.

Amazon workers united!

Timetable:

Friday 11 September

19:30-22:00

OPEN MEETING

„Workers struggles at Amazon in Poland, Germany und France

Workers from different Amazon distribution centres talk about how we want to organise.

We invite the public and media to an open meeting in which we will inform about the situation in different FCs. We would also like to have a common debate with workers from other plants and everyone interested, obviously including future Amazon workers.

Admission free

Place: Teatr Ósmego Dnia, entry from ul. Ratajczaka 44 (2nd storey)

Saturday 12 September

11:00-12:00

PROTEST/HAPPENING

„We are not robots!“

Amazon workers united for better working conditions!

Place: pl. Wolności, stairs to the Arkadia

12:00-18:30

INTERNATIONAL AMAZON WORKERS MEETING

12:00-13:15 Getting to know each other
13:30-15:00

Our problems

Discussion in workshops on wages, premiums, norms, feedback, our fears, turnover, temp agencies and Amazon’s counter strategies against workers‘ actions

15:00-16:00 Lunch break
16:00-17:30

Organising

Presentations from different countries about strategies, effective tools and challenges

17:45-18:30 Summary of the day

Place: Teatr Ósmego Dnia, entry from ul. Ratajczaka 44 (2nd storey)

21:00

Get-together

Place: Café-Club Meskalina, Stary Rynek 6

Sunday 13 September

10:00-14:00

INTERNATIONAL AMAZON WORKERS MEETING

10:00–11:30

Our common plans

Next meetings and campaigns – discussion in workshops

11:45–14:00 Summary

Place: Teatr Ósmego Dnia, entry from ul. Ratajczaka 44 (2nd storey)

14:00

Lunch

Organisational questions:

  • Sleeping: 2 nights in a hostel including breakfast cost 80 to 100
    zlotys (20 to 25 euros)
  • Fees: Participant fee including food appr. 40 zlotys (10 euros)
  • Travel expenses: Every group pays for its own travel expenses
  • Registration: until 28 August 2015