• Germany's news in English
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Germany's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
3,019
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
Amazon under fire for unpaid Christmas helpers
Photo: DPA

Amazon under fire for unpaid Christmas helpers

Published: 17 Nov 2011 16:05 CET

The company wanted to assess the workers’ potential for longer-term work, Die Welt daily reported this week. It said the majority of those working at the warehouses in Unna and Rheinberg am Niederrhein were kept on. The workers are those on Hartz IV social support, which continues to be paid as they try out for new jobs – at no cost to the potential employer.

But the service industry union Verdi and state labour minister for North Rhine-Westphalia Guntram Schneider, said the workers were being exploited – while their basic incomes were being financed by the state.

“It is simply not acceptable that a company gains a competitive advantage via this kind of state-funded test employment,” Schneider told the paper, and promised that his ministry would check how legal the scheme was.

Verdi said no other mail-order company in Germany used the try-out provision on the scale that Amazon does, adding that the union had long been critical of Amazon’s employment practices in Germany. These include a lack of wage agreement with workers’ councils, no Christmas or holiday pay, and the fact that two thirds of staff are on temporary contracts.

The union also said workers’ hands were constantly scanned electronically and that if they remained inactive twice in five minutes, they received a warning.

Yet the Christian Democrat Union opposition politicians in North Rhine-Westphalia criticised Social Democrat Schneider’s misgivings, saying he was bringing “a very successful work creation scheme into disrepute.”

The regional Labour Office in Düsseldorf said such training measures for Hartz IV recipients were possible for up to four weeks at a time. “I would find it a scandal if we were not longer able to offer them,” said Werner Marquis, manager at the office. He said it was a win-win situation for all parties.

He said one of the warehouses had a personnel take-up rate of 90 percent. “What more do we want?” he asked.

Amazon said in a statement, “We offer untrained workers as well as long-term unemployed a chance of a workplace and a return to working life.”

It said it aimed to take as many of the seasonal workers on long-term as possible.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

ADD YOUR COMMENT   (YOU MUST LOG IN OR REGISTER TO MAKE A COMMENT)
Your German Career
What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice.
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
Students at German universities have shown themselves to be a risk-free lot in a survey by Ernst & Young. The civil service is their most popular choice of future profession, while job security is valued above all else.
Jenny Core, originally from Bolton, England, shares her tips in this week’s My German Career on being an artist in Berlin. The 27-year-old exhibits her work regularly in the city, including next to a Turner Prize shortlister.
In this week's JobTalk, Tanya Schober, who is originally from India, talks us through her journey to German citizenship.
In this week's My German Career, Anupama Gopalakrishna, who is originally from Bangalore in India, tells The Local about her new life in Frankfurt.
German Employment News
In our weekly feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Bertram Meyer, one of the four German co-founders of Taulia.
In our weekly feature series, The Local chats with a successful entrepreneur. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Simon Schneider, CEO and co-founder of networking tool Zyncd.
In our ongoing feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Mario Paladini, founder of Club GLOBALS, a 'community marketplace' for expats.
In our new feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, we meet Berlin resident Marc C. Lange, co-founder and CEO of Crowdflow UG.
The Federal Administrative Court on Wednesday has ruled that the state of Hesse overstepped its bounds when legislating more allowances for firms to operate, and thus force employees to work, on Sundays and bank holidays.
UPDATE: The grand coalition's freshly minted law mandating that 30 percent of executive positions must be filled by women is being hit with harsh criticisms from the firms who have to comply to it.

Specialist (m/f) Marketing
Atotech seeks a native English speaker with professional experience in B2B marketing and social media for its global communication and market launch activities.
FULL JOB AD »

Journalist
In the decade since it was founded, The Local in Sweden has given people around the world an insight into one of Europe's most successful societies. We are now looking for a talented English-language journalist with an excellent command of Swedish to help us take the site to the next level
FULL JOB AD »

Düsseldorf
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

München
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Düsseldorf
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Berlin
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Hildesheim
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Stuttgart-Feuerbach
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Karlsruhe
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Essen
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14

Frankfurt am Main, Köln
Stepstone
Added 12/29/14