Monday, November 28, 2011

Amazon: Loophole for Cheap Labor

Amazon Accused of Systematic Job Subsidy Abuse
Online retailer Amazon appears to be systematically cashing in on German job creation subsidies. The company has been accused of repeatedly rehiring temporary workers who come with a two-week 'tryout phase' paid for by German authorities, critics say. The practice centers around the holiday rush.

11/28/2011 - It wasn't a dream job, but it was a job at least, Pascal Präkelt, a trained cook, said to himself when he started work in the distribution center of online retailer Amazon in Werne, western Germany, on Nov. 15 last year.

He had been unemployed in the previous months and Amazon had offered him the prospect of a job, if only for four weeks initially. He shifted washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers into trucks during the busy pre-Christmas period. Other employees packed DVDs, food mixers and books into boxes.

The pay was €9.65 ($12.88) per hour. He had worked for less than that as a chef, and Präkelt's employment agency had said that Amazon would offer many of the temporary workers permanent jobs after the month was over. The company did indeed ask him back later -- but it wasn't quite how he had imagined.

Amazon runs logistics centers at five locations in Germany. In Werne, the company hires 2,000 extra workers during the Christmas retail season. In Leipzg, it hires more than 2,800 and in Bad Hersefeld, the biggest Amazon site in Germany, it recruits an extra 4,500 people.

Cheap Labor

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