Filmmakers Diana Löbl and Peter Onneken accused Amazon of hiring workers lured from all over Europe by false promises that they would get a work contract directly with the firm. The workers are allegedly monitored around-the-clock by guards from a security company accused of having links to Neo-Nazi groups.
The immigrant workers earn a gross hourly wage of 8.52 euros but only learn this two days before they are scheduled to leave their country. Shifts can included up to 15 days in a row without a day off; and they are housed in crowded conditions in empty holiday camps. Room and board are deducted from their wages.
Selling everything from books to coffee pots to toilet paper, Amazon has a 25% share of the German mail-order market, with a 2012 turnover of 6.8 billion euros.
Löbl told Süddeutsche Zeitung that Amazon personnel is watched 24 hours a day - on the job and then in the housing compounds by a security firm suspected of ties to Neo-Nazi groups. The firm is called HESS Security, which the filmmakers suspect of being a reference to top Hitler deputy Rudolph Hess. The guards are shown dressed in Thor Steinar clothing, a brand so strongly associated with Germany's far-right scene that its products have been banned at soccer matches and the German parliament.
The guards allegedly threatened the filmmakers and destroyed some of their footage.
Worldcrunch / Expatica
More from Worldcrunch:
Although hard to imagine, the shortage in the skilled and highly-educated workforces is expected to grow in the coming years. Expatica therefore introduces the International Job Fair, the event for pursuing an international career in the Netherlands.
Meet the most eligible internationals in Germany at Expatica Date!
Join Expatica's online community to reach out for expats just like you!
What you need to know about German schools and daycare.
Want to move to Germany but haven’t figured out the details? Check out Expatica’s overview of the German permit system.
In part one of our two part series, we cover the driving culture in Berlin, where to park and buy gas and, most importantly, the laws.
Our comprehensive guide includes information on how to find work, recruitment agencies, employment contracts and labour law.