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(en) Poland, Workers Initiative ozzip: AMZN: In the belly of the beast [machine translation]

Date Sun, 21 Mar 2021 08:10:58 +0200


December 2020: a three-hour blockade of the Amazon gate near Wroclaw means that dozens of trucks do not leave on time. November 2020: a hundred forklift operators gather in one place in the warehouse and protest with horns, chanting: "2,000 for everyone!" March 2020: Thousands of Amazon employees from Poland, the US, Germany and France sign a petition demanding more protective measures. June 2019: 5,000 workers in Poland vote for a strike in a strike referendum. April 2018: crowd demonstrates in Berlin as Jeff Bezos accepts his "visionary business model" award. October 2018: Trade unions suspend the draconian standards system. April 2017: The International Meeting of Amazon Employees from five countries takes place in Poznan. March 2016: picket at the office of the Adecco agency, whose services Amazon uses, against job instability and junk contracts. June 2015: In protest against forced overtime (11.5-hour shift) as the Amazon strike continues in Germany, hundreds of pickers are slowing down by picking up one product instead of several, paralyzing the shipping department. December 2014: at 5 am in the parking lot in front of Amazon's warehouse in Sady, a dozen warehouse workers vote for the establishment of the Inicjatywa Pracownicza trade union. which leads to paralysis of the shipping department. December 2014: at 5 am in the parking lot in front of Amazon's warehouse in Sady, a dozen warehouse workers vote for the establishment of the Inicjatywa Pracownicza trade union. which leads to paralysis of the shipping department. December 2014: at 5 am in the parking lot in front of Amazon's warehouse in Sady, a dozen warehouse workers vote for the establishment of the Inicjatywa Pracownicza trade union.

In December 2020, Christian Krähling, an employee of the Amazon warehouse in Bad Hersfeld (near Frankfurt), co-founder of Amazon Workers International, and uncompromising trade union activist Ver.di, dies suddenly and much too soon. This is a great loss for Amazon's global movement of workers and female workers. On Black Friday, November 27, he picked up in front of a magazine with a banner #MakeAmazonPay, a few days before his death, he made a snowman before entering Amazon, which he dressed in a union vest, planned to publish an international newspaper, written by employees to employees from different countries, beyond divisions . He said: "I must admit that when we started organizing in Bad Hersfeld in 2011 with a group of 15-20 people, we did not even dream that we would be where we are now. Today we have a huge active network:

It is thanks to this network, an element of which is also the exhibition by Tytus Szabelski, that Amazon is becoming loud. The interest is growing especially in 2020, when we - employed in logistics - are included in the group of key employees. The public discovers that the parcels are not packed by robots or sent by drones, but by hundreds of thousands of people grouped in huge logistics halls, who continue to work despite the coronavirus. They unload trucks, unpack pallets, count cartons, push carts, place products on shelves, and pack consignments. Dave Clark, the right hand of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest man on earth, on December 16, 2020, in an open letter to American institutions, demands early vaccinations for - as he himself writes - heroes.

Tytus Szabelski asks: "How to support people fighting for workers' rights and - in a broader perspective - equality and social justice?" As an organized part of the world of work, we answer that it does not help to talk about Amazon solely as a symbol of digital exploitation, and of workers as modern slaves. We need the opposite: recognition of the strength of the huge Amazon crew and support for organizing inside warehouses in different parts of the world. We are convinced that all debates about the dangers of digitization, impersonal algorithms, new surveillance technologies, Amazon's dominance in the e-commerce sector, tax avoidance practices, monopoly growing to other industries, etc.

Amazon employees work together, across borders, in warehouses in Poland, Germany, USA, Spain, Italy, France and more: they strike, picket, slow down work, collect signatures for petitions, support each other on a daily basis, fight for justice in courtrooms . As part of Amazon Workers International, they see a common interest in spite of the differences between them in terms of wages, bonuses, pace of work or other legal standards under which they associate in different countries, e.g. the difference in the right to strike. They are looking for a common transnational liaison for local battles, waged in logistic warehouses around the world. Employees and employees from Poland are part of this initiative. Since 2014, we are associated in the grassroots, militant trade union Inicjatywa Pracownicza.

We believe that Amazon's magazines are a key field for action, the results of which will not only improve our situation, but also affect the overall relationship between business and the world of work, today and in the future. Hence it is a fascinating challenge. Amazon is becoming more and more important to global capital accumulation, and the role of workers and female workers in Central Europe is significant in this process. It can be said that the company itself has opened up new opportunities for us, becoming the basis for a truly international movement that is built on the strength of its strategic location. This movement needs a lot of people who would like to be on the front lines.

What can you do? Hire at Amazon to build a grassroots labor movement. The pandemic crisis has revealed our bargaining power and we must seize the moment. When workers are made redundant in other sectors, Amazon calls us heroes and employs an army of people around the world - 18,000 in Poland. people work directly and another several thousand by employment agencies. We have not succeeded in replacing us with robots or moving warehouses outside of Europe as our work has to be done locally, close to major population centers. This is a good opportunity to get involved in the beast's belly.

One phone call to a temporary employment agency (Adecco or Randstad) is enough to find employment in Amazon's warehouse, and the recruitment is done remotely. The territorial range of free company buses covers almost all of western and central Poland. It will not be easy: at the beginning you will get an agency contract for a month, and if you get sick or work too slowly, they will not give you another one. It is a lot of physical effort, in 10.5 hour shifts, 4 days a week (or 2 part-time days), also at night. However, we know from experience that working at Amazon (even for a few months) and at the same time organizing in such a large facility, breaking divisions and building relationships with colleagues you probably would never meet - is an eye-opening and perspective-changing experience.

You can also support us from the outside, but remember that the Amazon crew does not need mercy, only to strengthen local and global initiatives already underway. This can be a funding for the strike fund, physical presence at blockades and protests, assistance in printing and distributing leaflets, media and artistic activities aimed at employees' agency, and finally organizing in other workplaces and exchanging experiences related to it.

As Christian Krähling, who has visited Poznan many times, emphasized - when he started operating in Germany 10 years ago in a small group of employees, he did not dream of the active, committed, transnational network we have today. We will expand and develop this network in order to win with the giant. Contact us and we will help you get to where the fight is taking place.

OZZ Employee Initiative tel. 736 850 536 / ipamazon@wp.pl / www.ozzip.pl

(1) Interview with Christian Krähling: Common strategy: how to grow strong and think big - Transnational Social Strike Platform (transnational-strike.info)

Agnieszka Mróz

Source: http://www.arsenal.art.pl/wystawy/amzn/Tytus Szabelski

https://ozzip.pl/publicystyka/walki-pracownicze/item/2751-amzn-w-brzuchu-bestii
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