Whether it's Amazon Alexa, package delivery, customer service or fulfillment, Amazon uses apps, hand scanners, browser tools and cameras to surveil its workforce 24/7. Working almost anywhere at Amazon is stressful and hazardous to one's health.
Anyone who works at Amazon knows this all too well: Tools measure your performance, and management puts you under pressure. Your co-workers get sick due to stress, fired because they’re not 'fast enough', paid less if they don't reach targets or bullied by management.
Amazon continues to ignore German laws: Constant automated surveillance is illegal, hands down! Despite this, only a few work sites have resisted these attacks on basic rights. We are a group of Amazon employees, trade unionists, lawyers, and civil rights activists - and we want to change that.
There are many ways to stop illegal surveillance: Elect a Workers Council, influence an existing Workers Council, turn to trade unions, involve the data protection authority or sue for damages. There are already examples where workers have stopped illegal surveillance through collective action. We can walk you through these steps and answer your questions! We offer legal training in your language and rooms to discuss any issues.
Because I had to record every little break in the work time system, I felt permanently under time pressure.
I delivered for Amazon for the Christmas period in 2020. I hope unions kind find a way in to Amazon. I also hope Bezos gets on a one way rocket trip.
In our department, illegal performance measurements were quite 'normal' for years. Many colleagues got inflammation of the wrists, eyes or sleep problems.
No promotion, no development opportunities, and it was also intentional that people worked their asses off and then just kicked out when used up.
Amazon loves to spy on its workers in every little detail. There are 'picking rates' in fulfillment centers, quotas on parcels for delivery drivers and performance targets for data workers. However, at least in Germany there are laws that allow workers to push back against this excessive and disproportional surveillance by Amazon. For this workers have to organise. A works council ('Betriebsrat') then has the necessary tools (and even the obligation) to prevent feedback talks, individual performance tracking or informal pressure by managers.
Organise and elect a works council (or vote for the right people who are running). If you don't know how to do that or need support: contact a union.
Start internal negotiations on individual and constant performance tracking. If management does not take your claim seriously: threaten to file a complaint with the federal data protection officer or an injunction at the labour court. Important: document all steps of the negotiations in writing.
If your management fails to give in, declare the negotiations failed as soon as possible and ask the labour court to call in an arbitration committee ('Einigungsstelle'). This is a mere formality.
In the arbitration process, the works council can insist on ending all individual performance tracking. If management claims it is necessary for the company to function: this is bullshit! Amazon can fulfill its 'customer obsession' as well with collective data. Note: individual + permanent tracking = illegal. The works council can negotiate a company agreement ('Betriebsvereinbarung') on (existing) IT systems, in which you declare to accept those systems only if they do not contain individual performance tracking.
The described steps are currently and have been put into action successfully inside Amazon. If you have any questions please contact us any time. We are very happy to share our experience. For all formal steps a union can help and support you as well!