• Germany's news in English

Aldi staff wrapped in film, chastised by rats

The Local · 20 Sep 2013, 16:05

Published: 20 Sep 2013 16:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The foil was so tight I could hardly breathe," said one trainee, who accuses his colleagues of smearing permanent marker over his face in a fraternity-style attempt at an initiation, sanctioned by supervisors.

He did not initially report the incident. "I was scared of being fired right away, as I was still on my trial period," he said. Staff apparently also threatened to lock him in a minus 20-degree freezer if he was cheeky again.

The allegations appear in an updated edition of 'Inside Aldi' by former Aldi Süd manager Andreas Straub.

Among the allegations featured in the book are accounts of staff being bullied using rats and subjected to 'psychological terror' for speaking up for their rights. Straub accuses other German supermarket chains of similar mistreatment.

It is Straub's second book about his former employee. The first, 'Aldi, Einfach Billig,' (Aldi, Simply Cheap) which is to be made into a film, accused the company of spying on employees and setting unreasonable performance standards.

Straub told The Local: "There was a culture of fear at Aldi Süd and nothing has changed since the publication of the [first] book. I hope this might lead to some changes."

Earlier this year a former detective told Der Spiegel that the management of an Aldi store in Dornstadt in Baden-Württemberg asked him to install miniature cameras over the lockers in the staff changing rooms.

"I was tasked with reporting all irregularities," the detective told the magazine in January. "So [I had to say something] if a member of staff was working too slowly, or if I heard about them having a relationship with another member of staff, or received other details from their private lives, for example their financial situations."

Aldi has repeatedly denied spying on staff but told Spiegel Online it was "shocked" by the latest allegations and would "do everything" to investigate the reports.

In a statement to The Local, Aldi Süd said: "To our dismay, our internal investigation shows that the incident described does in essence represent the truth.

Story continues below…

"We regret this incident in the distribution centre in Mahlberg, which according to our research, took place at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 and are deeply concerned."

READ MORE: Supermarket Aldi starts budget bus lines

Kate Ferguson

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd