Amazon staff strike for someday in Leipzig, Germany – WSWS

About 400 staff at Amazon in Leipzig took half in one other 24-hour “warning” strike on Monday. The service sector union Verdi known as for a piece stoppage from the start of the evening shift on Sunday till the top of the late shift on Monday. Related strikes had already taken place on December 19 at different Amazon warehouses in Dangerous Hersfeld, Graben/Augsburg, Werne, Rheinberg and Koblenz.
Verdi felt compelled to name for restricted short-term strikes as a way to defuse the rising anger of the Amazon workforce. Not solely are staff at present going through the flood of returned and exchanged items following the Christmas holidays, they’re working underneath the fixed risk of contracting the extremely contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Amazon has 17 logistics centres and greater than 60 distribution centres in Germany with over 19,000 everlasting staff, plus seasonal and subcontracted staff, and courier companies. Verdi has repeatedly failed to handle the exploitation of everlasting and non permanent staff, or the acute hazard of corona an infection.
There have been repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 at Amazon in Germany—most just lately on January 6 on the Dangerous Oldesloe distribution centre in Schleswig-Holstein. There, 200 new infections have been detected in your complete Stormarn district in someday, together with instances of the Omicron variant. This was introduced by the well being division with out giving any concrete info associated to Amazon. Amazon has at all times stored details about the place and what number of staff have been contaminated rigorously underneath wraps.
The subject of sporting masks is at present being mentioned on the Fb pages of Amazon staff: In Leipzig, masks are apparently solely obligatory on walkways, however not at workstations. In different logistics centres, the well being authorities have ordered the everlasting sporting of masks following COVID outbreaks. In Dangerous Hersfeld, for instance, one employee reported that she needed to put on a masks for 4 hours continuous whereas the corporate made no allowances for any extra breaks to permit staff to breathe recent air.
As a way to remove the coronavirus and implement secure working circumstances, Amazon staff should unite internationally in a joint wrestle. Related or equivalent circumstances of exploitation prevail in all the firm’s warehouses and delivery stations all over the world, and the hazard of turning into contaminated grows daily. The primary precedence is for staff to be precisely knowledgeable about the true extent of latest infections, in order that they will defend themselves. Lockdowns with full compensation for all staff are wanted to suppress the pandemic, mixed with systematic contact tracing of all instances of an infection.
The World Socialist Internet Website and the Socialist Equality Events have fought for the elimination of COVID-19 for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Amazon staff should be part of collectively in rank-and-file committees that act independently of Verdi and different unions, the administration and all the bourgeois events and politicians. These committees should then set up contact with colleagues in different logisitics warehouses and factories and in different international locations. The pandemic can solely be defeated internationally by working collectively to uphold the socialist precept of lives earlier than revenue!
The service sector union Verdi desires to stop such a wrestle in any respect prices. Its calls for on the net mail-order big are restricted completely to Amazon accepting a federal, industry-standard, collective settlement. Verdi has been organising remoted, brief time period actions according to this demand for eight years now. The unions techniques are fully predictable and are simply shrugged off by Amazon. The multinational can simply shift work affected by warning strikes to its different warehouses making certain that income stay untouched.
The works councils arrange by Verdi at a number of Amazon websites are already working hand in hand with the company. This was explicitly acknowledged by the earlier head of German operations, Ralf Kleber, who was just lately changed. In an interview with the enterprise each day, Handelsblatt, Kleber mentioned, 'Now we have works councils with whom we focus on each single step from break time to the altering rooms when essential.' Verdi doesn’t wish to jeopardise any such shut cooperation underneath any circumstances.
In the meantime, the corporate based by multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos continues to excellent its divide-and-rule technique: for instance, parcel supply staff are brutally exploited by means of using subcontracting. This was confirmed by a current report made by the ZDF t.v. journal 'Frontal' and Enterprise Insider.
In accordance with the report, subcontracted drivers work as much as 11 hours a day for very low wages, that are arbitrarily set. One driver, for instance, was promised a month-to-month wage of two,000 euros, however after beginning work, this sum was arbitrarily decreased to 1,600 euros. Steadily wages are paid late, typically weeks later. A number of instances have been reported the place a driver who fell unwell was dismissed with out discover on the identical day. Reinstatement or severance pay, in addition to fee of medical health insurance and social safety contributions normally need to be fought out in court docket.
For instance, a 48-year-old supply driver who got here to Germany from Pakistan thirty years in the past, and has a household right here, reported excellent wages for 5 months since he began driving for varied Amazon subcontractors. 'I had no issues till 2019,' the motive force defined. “Then I started working for Amazon – after which it was all downhill afterwards.” Amazon denies it has any form of accountability for subcontracted drivers.
The perspective of the corporate administration turned abruptly clear just lately when an Amazon delivery warehouse within the US state of Illinois was hit by a twister. When the climate warning arrived on December 10, 2021, Amazon administration refused to cancel the shift and defend staff, or ship them house in time. As a substitute, they have been pressured to remain within the poorly constructed warehouse and proceed working. The Edwardsville fulfilment centre was fully destroyed and 6 staff have been killed.
The corporate has since pledged $1 million to assisst the encircling neighborhood in its restoration efforts. This is identical quantity that former CEO, Bezos, pockets in net price each seven minutes.
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