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(en) Poland, ozzip: $ 2, 000 for Everyone" - Amazon employees are demanding a bonus, not a frosted donut [machine translation]

Date Sun, 22 Nov 2020 09:07:57 +0200

On November 5, 2020, Amazon employees in Bielany Wroclawskie, during the day and night shifts, suspended their work under the slogan "PLN 2,000 for everyone". In the following days, people employed in other warehouses began to join the protest. The Employee Initiative supports and documents employee actions. More people report that they want to get involved, especially on the upcoming Black Friday, during the period of increased work. ---- The Amazon WRO1 warehouse in Bielany Wroclawskie is the company's only warehouse in Poland that handles large-size items. The warehouse employs over a thousand forklift operators who unfold and collect items ordered by customers from high-bay racks. Amazon in Poland, which employs 18 thousand. people directly, every autumn he recruits an additional thousand agency workers for the pre-Christmas period - this year he has declared work through the agency to 14 thousand people. The warehouses near Wroclaw must have run out of hands, since the agencies started offering an additional recruitment bonus for new employees in the amount of PLN 2,000. PLN.

The bonus caused a great stir among employees with longer experience and agency workers working for several months, who were not entitled to it. It has been discussed in magazines and online forums that Amazon only cares about recruiting employees for short-term pre-holiday contracts and order fulfillment, rather than appreciating employees already hired. The Employee Initiative has for years pointed out that Amazon is shifting the costs of its business model onto the shoulders of employees, offering 2-week or monthly unstable agency contracts during the season when it captures the greatest profits.

Dissatisfaction has increased especially because most of Amazon's warehouse workers have not received any raises this year. Since 2015, Amazon has been carrying out the so-called "Salary overview" comparing earnings in the region around warehouses and in similar industries. For the first time in 5 years - during the pandemic, when the wealth of the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, increased unimaginably, and he himself went to the top five businessmen in history - the vast majority of Amazon employees in Poland had their salaries frozen at PLN 20 gross per hour.

In the period from November 8 to December 26, 2020, Amazon introduced a "holiday bonus to salary" in the amount of PLN 4 per hour worked. The supplement regulations were presented to the trade unions, which, however, expected higher amounts. Amazon was not ready to make concessions. It is worth recalling that from mid-March to mid-May, after employee protests in various countries, Amazon paid a similar allowance, known as "covid", in the amount of PLN 4 per working hour. The pandemic is not over. Amazon employees, along with other warehouse and logistics employees, are called heroes, thanks to whom orders can be fulfilled during the economic closure. Due to the ongoing mass recruitment, even more people come into contact with each other every day in company buses, cloakrooms, canteens and in the hall, putting their health at risk.

According to many employees, the current PLN 4 bonus - just like in the spring - should be a continuation of the "covid" bonus, and the Christmas bonus should be paid regardless of it and should be much higher. Thanks to him, in recent years, employees have mended their home budgets, because their earnings were unsatisfactory throughout the year.

For this reason, after November 5, 2020, there was a series of grassroots protests involving downtime at work, lasting from a few minutes to an hour. Others objected by wearing orange vests at work with a hand-made inscription "2,000. PLN for everyone ". They could be seen in Amazon in Sosnowiec, Sady near Poznan, Kolbaskowo and in Bielany near Wroclaw. Employees sent photos and called on others to take action: "who supports us, also wear a vest like that!".

The Employee Initiative received recordings showing the protest of forklift operators from the Amazon warehouse near Wroclaw. During the day shift, about 115-130 trucks (i.e. the vast majority of operators from these departments) took part in the protest at the unloading and loading department (dock and ship). As one of the participants relates: "The protest consisted in the fact that all employees went to one place and sounded their horns for about three minutes. People who showed solidarity with us came to us as a sign of protest. This made a great impression among the other employees of the warehouse. Of course, managers and people from HR soon flew in. In conclusion, we shouted "2,000 for everyone!" Three times.

We also got information from employees in the same warehouse, but from other departments, that the protest also took place during the night shift, between 1 and 2 am. Staff at the pick and stow departments blocked the path at the pick department, blocking the passage. The participant wrote: "The protest at WRO1 was also attended by the customer returns department on three links: about 180 people turned on the andons for a few minutes." The red andon is a light signal informing that for technical reasons it is impossible to continue work.

The Employee Initiative sent a letter to the corporation, in which we wrote: "As a trade union that associates Amazon employees and agency employees, we express indignation that the bonus does not apply to employees directly employed by Amazon, as well as agency employees who have already been working on the Company's premises for some time . We realize that many job agencies that offer a bonus work with Amazon and indirectly benefit from the profits generated by Amazon Employees. We demand explanations regarding the conduct of such a remuneration policy. The news touched many people and the staff perceives such a remuneration policy as a disrespect for employees with longer experience. In connection with the above, we take the position

On November 13, we received a response from Amazon: "We would like to inform you that temporary employment agencies have a remuneration policy that is independent of Amazon and applies to the employees they employ. The bonus mentioned by the trade union organization in the letter is not the bonus proposed by Amazon and the employer is not a party to this (...) ". Amazon did not respond to the fact that employees feel agitated and perceive such a wage policy for disrespect and take protest actions, or that the union side has expressed its readiness to start talks. However, we could read that employees will receive Christmas benefits from the Company Social Benefits Fund (although it is known that the creation of the ZFSS fund is regulated by the law and is not a goodwill of the corporation) and "traditionally, during November and December, numerous competitions and attractions will be held, details of which will be announced soon". These attractions - according to posters displayed in magazines - are donut with icing, a drink or a snack.

The union supports and documents employee actions from below. We receive information that more people want to join the activities, especially on the upcoming Black Friday, during the period of increased work. The Employee Initiative declares that it will support these protests and, if necessary, will provide legal assistance to their participants.

2,000 for everyone! Whoever supports us, should wear such a vest!

OZZ Amazon Employee Initiative
ipamazon@wp.pl - 736 850 536

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