Final statement of the cross-border meeting of Amazon workers – Bad Hersfeld, September 28–30, 2018

About 25 workers and supporters from Poland, Germany, France and the USA met for the seventh cross-border meeting since 2015 (the first meeting in 2015 also took place in Bad Hersfeld).

The meeting began with reports from the different warehouses. For instance:

  • Wages in Poland were raised again: the hourly wage before tax has increased from 13.00 zlotys to 18.50 zlotys since 2014.
  • A protest of forklift drivers against disciplinary measures took place in Poznan.
  • The state labor inspection put pressure on Amazon due to several infractions of the law.
  • Amazon workers are trying to organize in several warehouses in the USA.
  • In Bad Hersfeld more workers took part in the last strikes, the union Verdi had a good result during the works council elections, organizing attempts were intensified.
  • For the first time, hiccup strikes were used in Bad Hersfeld.

In the further course of the meeting we separated in work groups and discussed the experiences with different forms of labor struggle and the workers’ demands in different countries.

At the end of the meeting we collectively decided to take the following steps:

  • We start a campaign against the usage of targets to speed up work.
  • As the information situation is still unsatisfactory, we form groups which will collect data on wages, working conditions, and employment forms in Amazon warehouses. The results shall be presented during the next cross-border meeting in March.
  • There will be more Safe Package actions (‘work to rule’).
  • Besides organizing activities in the workplaces we will focus on putting pressure on Amazon’s Luxembourg headquarters. The details will be discussed.
  • The next meeting will take place in Poland in mid-March 2019. The city and other details will be announced later this year.

For more information, the next invitation, news, contact, etc. see our blog https://amworkers.wordpress.com.

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September 2018: Invitation to the “Amazon Workers’ Cross-border Meeting” in Bad Hersfeld, Germany

The next “Amazon Workers’ Cross-border Meeting” will take place from Friday, September 28, to Sunday, September 30, 2018, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany.

Amazon workers from different countries have met several times since 2015 to discuss their situation and coordinate actions. In Bad Hersfeld we will focus on the experiences of recent strikes, the Safe Package actions, working conditions and targets, and more.

On Friday, September 28, starting at 2 p.m., we will meet in front of the local Amazon warehouse FRA3 (Amazonstraße 1, 36251 Bad Hersfeld).

Also on Friday, at 7 p.m. we will have a public meeting with workers from Germany, Poland, France, Spain, and the USA.

Everyone is invited to come to these two events, including workers, supporters, and journalists. For more information, see the https://amworkers.wordpress.com.

The meeting of Amazon workers will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Details on the agenda will be sent to you after registration. Amazon workers from all countries as well as members of Amazon workers’ solidarity groups are invited. It does not matter whether you are a union member or not, everyone can participate!

Organizational topics:

It’s possible to arrive on Thursday, September 27, or Friday, September 28. Thursday evening can be used to get to know each other and to prepare things for the meeting on the following days. Please mention the date and time of arrival and departure when you register for the meeting.

Registration: Please send your registration to the contact form: workermeeting@gmail.com/contact-us

We need the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address and (if possible) the mobile phone number
  • Country
  • Fulfillment Center
  • The Languages you speak
  • If you need compensation for travel expenses, please, mention expected costs
  • Date and time of your arrival and departure
  • Special needs (e. g. vegetarian, vegan, allergies)?

If you register as a group one email with the information of all registered is sufficient.

Questionnaire: After the registration we send you a confirmation and a questionnaire. Please send the back the filled-out questionnaire until September 24. Results of all questionnaires will be presented at the meeting.

„Feedback“ for Bezos

Amazon founder and boss Jeff Bezos will be to Berlin on April 24, 2018, to receive the “Axel Springer Award.” He gets the award for his „visionary entrepreneurship in the internet economy“ and the “digitalization strategy” at the Washington Post which he owns.

Bezos’ “vision” is centering around the usage of digital technologies for the exploitation, surveillance and disciplining of Amazon employees. His strategy has been implemented in Amazon offices and warehouses around the globe.

While Amazon claims that the company would care about their employees’ health, reality looks different. Shift work, increased work rates, high work intensity, constant control, and continuous pressure on everyone who does not meet the company requirements make Amazon workers sick.

Amazon is also notorious for low wages and precarious work relations as it employs many workers through temporary work agencies and with short-term labor contracts.

In recent years, workers in many countries, including in Germany, Poland, Spain, and France, have organized, demanded improvements, and resisted in the form of strikes and other forms of struggle.

For the past three years, workers have connected workers “across borders” and “across union memberships” – an attempt to increase the pressure on Amazon by linking up rank and file workers.

On April 24, 2018, we will be in Berlin to welcome Bezos appropriately, together with the campaign “Make Amazon Pay” and other supporters.

Amazon puts pressure on workers through managers’ regular (negative) “feedback” on a worker’s performance, but this time workers will give an appropriate “feedback” on Bezos!

We ask all Amazon workers and supporters to join us on the demonstration and rally in Berlin.

  • 4 p.m.: Meeting at Oranienplatz, Berlin-Kreuzberg
  • 4:30 p.m, Demonstration from Oranienplatz to the Axel-Springer-Haus on Rudi-Dutschke-Strasse
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Rally in front of the Axel-Springer-Haus

If you cannot go to Berlin, please, talk to your colleagues, distribute this call, collect workers‘ feedback on Bezos in your own warehouse and send it to us before April 24 or simply fill out the online feedback form here.

 

Note on necessary improvements

Name and surname: Jeff Bezos

Recently, the way you‘ve done your job has not met the expectations of your employees. Treating your employees with due respect is fundamental to your business. This document provides detailed information on your performance and explains why you are not meeting the expectations. Accordingly, when you arrive in Berlin on April 24, 2018, we will give you negative feedback and read out the concerns employees have. You will be served by public notification.

Bezos_for_feedback

 

Solidarity with striking workers at Amazon Spain

Solidarity letter from Poland to the workers on strike at the Amazon warehouse in Spain

Dear friends from MAD4!

We are impressed by your mobilization and your determination in the fight to maintain and improve your working conditions and wages. We want to express our solidarity and wish you good luck and stamina for the struggle against Amazon!

In 2016, here in Poland, 2,000 Amazon workers took part in a strike ballot and voted „yes” for strike. Despite that we could not organize it due to restrictive Polish labor law.

Your struggle inspires us, because you have the courage to fight for what you deserve!

In Amazon warehouses in Spain, Germany, France, Poland, and other countries we organize and fight for the same thing. We reject the exploitation by a few bosses who get rich thanks to our work and spend money on their toys. It is at the cost of hundreds of thousands of workers at Amazon worldwide and at the expense of our families. We refuse to be cheap labor!

We have many similar problems: permanent control by managers, low wages, high pressure to increase productivity. Every week managers give us negative feedbacks, even when we make 99 percent of the expected rate, and they say they can fire us if we get four feedbacks.

Therefore, when Jeff Bezos comes to Europe soon – to Berlin on April 24 – we are going to meet him there so we can give him hundreds of negative feedbacks – this time from us!

We will collect feedbacks from warehouse workers in Poland in the next few weeks, and we invite you to do the same – let’s show Bezos together that we reject the treatment we get!

We also invite you to join the Cross-Border Meeting of Amazon Workers which has taken place regularly for three years. The next meeting will be in Germany near Frankfurt (in Bad Hersfeld, Amazon’s FRA) in September 2018. Through this exchange, we have first-hand information which helps us to effectively organize in our warehouses. (For more on the meetings, please, see www.amworkers.wordpress.com).

In your current struggle, we wish you strength so you can resist the pressure!

We, the workers, work hard and Amazon doesn’t give us anything for free while it is us who make its giant profits. Therefore we deserve to be treated with dignity, not like robots, all over the world!

One day before your strike we are going to distribute leaflets among workers at Amazon’s POZ1 in Poland to present your demands. We will also explain that there is no point to work under bigger pressure in case Amazon wants us to send out those parcels that cannot be sent from your warehouse due to the strike. We don’t want to be used as scabs!

We support the strikers at Amazon in Spain!

Without a fight you cannot count on a better life!

OZZ Inicjatywa Pracownicza at Amazon Fulfillment Poland

Poznan, March 19, 2018

Final Declaration of the Cross-Border Meeting of Amazon Workers – Leipzig, January 26–28, 2018

Workers from five Amazon warehouses in three countries and supporters met in Leipzig for the sixth meeting of this type since 2015.

First we went to Amazon’s Leipzig warehouse LEJ1 to distribute leaflets titled “Stand up for our common interests!”

During the subsequent meeting, we discussed what had happened since our last meeting in Poznan in spring 2017, and we planned new common actions for 2018.

A major topic of the discussion was the need for more grassroots organizing. After years of confrontation with Amazon, participants feel the need to intensify organizing efforts on the shop-floor and break down the boundaries between union members, non-members, shop stewards, etc. – and get all of them involved in a common struggle.

We also discussed the experience of the Make-Amazon-Pay-campaign in Germany. Workers from Germany and Poland expressed some critique, as the action was mostly “from outside”, but there were also positive statements that underlined that such actions help to build up more pressure on Amazon.

Several actions were planned for the next few months:

  • Safe Package” was started in summer 2017 as a campaign that addresses the harmful effects of the speed-ups, controls, and pressure to reach high targets in Amazon warehouses on workers’ health. “Safe Package” days and weeks took place in Amazon warehouses in Poland, Germany, and France in 2017, and they will continue in 2018.
  • We decided to intensify our exchange on the many court cases between workers in all participating countries and Amazon. Many of them are about targets, reprimands, and dismissals, and Amazon is using all this to put workers under more pressure and punish union activists for their involvement in the struggle for better conditions.
  • * Between March 10 and 12 a group of Amazon workers from Poland and Germany will participate in public discussions on the conditions in Amazon warehouses and their experience of struggle with events in Hamburg, Kiel, and Bremen (Northern Germany).
  • On April 24, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos will get an award by the German media corporation Axel Springer in Berlin, and there will be a mobilization to welcome him in the appropriate way.
  • We will further develop the contacts we already have with Amazon workers and supporters in the USA, Spain, Italy, and Britain.

As other cross-border meetings before, the common exchange, debate, and shared time during those three days raised our motivation, widened our perspective, and helped planning concrete actions. This rare experience of grassroots organizing beyond union affiliations and country borders helps us in our activity in each warehouse, and we will share the new information and results of the meeting with workers there.

The next meeting will take place in Bad Hersfeld at the end of September this year.

For more information, the next invitation, news, contact, etc. see our blog https://amworkers.wordpress.com

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

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