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Final Declaration of the Cross-border Meeting of Amazon Workers – Poznań March 2019

We publish the final declaration of the transnational meeting of Amazon workers from Spain, Poland, Germany and France that took place last March in Poznan and in which the TSS Platform participated. Since 2015, when the first experiences of connections among Amazon warehouses in Germany and Poland occurred, the meetings have grown larger and the collaboration stronger. After the TSS Stockholm Meeting (Nov. 2018), where these experiments were largely discussed as a part of a wider struggle against the logistics of exploitation, the Spanish Amazon workers joined the group, bringing in their recent experiences of strikes in Madrid. Together with the problems of temporary work and performance rates, the discussion revolved around the possibility to claim an equal European wage for all Amazon workers in all warehouses, no matter the country, the type of contract or the nationality. This claim is meant to fight against the use of wage differentials and points at an absolute novelty of transnational organizing. Given the relevance of such a claim, the discussion on it will continue at the next meeting of Amazon workers taking place in September in Leipzig. The TSS will continue to follow and trigger the discussion around the possibility to advance common claims on a transnational level. Stay tuned! 

The eighth international meeting of Amazon workers took place from March 15th to March 17th of 2019. More than 50 workers and supporters from Spain, France, Poland and Germany and six trade unions met in Poznań to exchange information and plan further joint actions:

  • As decided at the last meeting, for the first time information was systematically collected about all FC’s involved and the working conditions on site.
  • In Poznań, the campaign „No Rat Race“ against feedbacks and high performance rates is launched. FC’s in other countries want to adopt this campaign. On the occasion of this campaign participants of the meeting distributed flyers during the shift change at the FC in Poznan.
  • One focus of the discussion was the use of temporary work at Amazon. In Poland and Spain, Amazon continues to use temporary workers with very short, sometimes two-week contracts. In Germany, agency work was largely successfully combated 5 years ago. Information about successful strategies were exchanged. The international use of temporary work means pressure on wages and working conditions for every country. To protest against the use of temporary work, a rally was held in front of the company headquarters of the Adecco temporary work agency in Poznan (see video: https://vimeo.com/326854438).
  • There was a controversial discussion about the demand for an equal European wage. Amazon workers do the same work everywhere and even the local price levels do not justify the big differences. However, there were also concerns as to whether the European wage is a strategically sensible demand.

At the end of the meeting, the following points were decided:

  • The controversy over the common European wage and strategy of Amazon to play out workers in different countries against each other show that the international organization of Amazon workers needs a common, long-term strategy. For the next meeting a discussion will be prepared by small groups.
  • The collection of information on Amazon from different countries in the form of a reader will be continued.
  • There will be further visits from Amazon employees to other FC’s throughout Europe.
  • The next meeting will take place in Leipzig September 27-29, 2019.

Never before were as many workers from so many countries at the Cross-border Meeting of Amazon workers. The fact that workers from such diverse trade unions as SUD-Solidaire from France, CGT from Spain, Ver.di from Germany and IP as well as Solidarnosc from Poland discussed common demands shows that international grassroots organizing beyond trade union borders is possible, and it should be continued and solidified.

 

First published here: https://amworkers.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/final-statement-of-the-cross-border-meeting-of-amazon-workers-bad-hersfeld-september-28-30-2018/