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On January 12, ZSP Multibranch Union protested at Manpower headquarters in Warsaw about the ongoing problems of workers at Amazon employed through that agency, among others. A number of persistent problems have been reported by workers since the fulfillment centers in Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie opened a few months ago.

We spoke to the legal department at Manpower for quite some time about specific cases and noted some additional suggestions for Amazon, such as that they should put the rules for awarding bonuses on paper, so that the criteria is transparent. This representative from Manpower will go to Amazon in two days, check the situation and pass on what we have said. We hope that we can resolve these concrete situations. However we were told that it is not possible to check the situation of all the workers, only the ones who specifically go to them with concrete issues.

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Every day more and more interesting things come to light at Amazon. We have seen that some agencies (for example Manpower) have provided workers with explanations of what was taken out of their salaries and which payments they were supposed to have. One of the things put on the pay slip was the equivalent for cleaning work clothes - because the company does not provide uniforms and the workers are entitled to this. Despite the fact that this is noted on the pay slip, workers we spoke to did not receive this.

Another problem is a health and safety problem related to having to manually lug too heavy weights. With the weights they are required to drag around the warehouse, the workers should have forklifts.

These new problems will be brought to the attention of all the parties ASAP.

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It has come to the attention of ZSP that in fact, some workers were given two contracts to sign: the first with the date they actually started work, the second with a new date, intended to „evidence” that they started later than they did. Unfortunately for Amazon and its temporary work agencies, Adecco, Manpower, Randstad, BHP training not only must be done during working hours, but also indicates the beginning of the factual labor relationship. We consider the signing of new contracts as an act of deliberate cheating and we will get you all for that.

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We have received reports from dozens of workers that they haven't received payment for health and safety training or time when they were employed but given no work. The health and safety training must be conducted after the work contract starts and workers should get paid for time they spend at this training. But many people received nothing for this time. This concerns workers from Randstad, Adecco and Manpower agencies, as well as some workers employed directly at Amazon. According to the law, all health and safety training takes place during working time, so it is paid. (Art. 2373 § 3 of the Labor Code)

Amazon did not give some workers any work for weeks after they started work. This is to be counted like a break in working time from the side of the employer. These breaks were not taken by the workers – they all wanted to work and were ready to work. This time that we were ready to work is also to be paid! This also results from the law. (Art. 81 of the Labor Code). And this payment cannot be less than minimum wage!

We demand this money for everyone, not just those who have noticed this! We will inform all the workers about their rights! No more cheating at Amazon!

ZSP in Amazon

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On December 30, ZSP organized a picket at the Adecco headquarters in Warsaw related to outstanding payments owed to a few Amazon workers. The warehouses in Sady and Bielany Wrocławskie hired workers through some agencies, including Adecco. Workers have been complaining that they haven't been receiving their full salaries.

Prior to our visit, we sent Adecco information about people owed salaries. The day before the picket they informed us that they paid 6 workers but on the day of the picket we asked about the others. An hour later, we received copies of statements confirming the money was transferred.

We are glad that Adecco took the appropriate actions to get the workers their pay. We hope they are able to get the money in time to enjoy their New Year.

Afterwards, we also went to Manpower. Some payments are also outstanding from that agency. Unfortunately, that agency is not so quick to act. We visited them two weeks ago and hoped that all payments would be made by now. We will be back there after the New Year with another protest.

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Agency Makes some Payments but others are still Waiting

On December 30, ZSP will visit the headquarters of Adecco work agency in Warsaw in an attempt to regulate payments for workers in the Amazon. Workers employed through temporary agencies Adecco and Manpower in Bielany Wroclawskie and Sady warehouses complained that they were not properly paid for their work. Two weeks ago we visited Manpower, who made some payments but there are still outstanding claims of workers from the Sady warehouse. Now we informed Adecco of the problems. On the day before the picket, Adecco contacted us to inform that it paid 6 workers outstanding sums of 500-600 zloties each and that it would make other settlements together with December payments. We will still visit Adecco with a picket and try to ensure these payments are made.

In the meanwhile, workers have agreed some postulates to struggle for in Amazon, to improve working conditions. The union will organize some actions in favour of these demands in the new year.

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10.5 hour shifts, one 30 minute unpaid break for lunch. Barely enough time to get to the canteen, eat something quick and get back to work. Not to mention that the food isn't fresh. Half the time we work in the night, from 18:30-5 AM. Many of us travel more than one hour to work. Our bodies cannot adjust to the changing shifts. We miss spending the evenings with our families. We treat this job as something we are stuck with until something better comes along. Almost any job is better.

Work in the fulfillment center is stressful, we are always monitored. There is a lot of physical work. We are exhausted in the first few hours. We cannot take a break to rest our feet. When we get home, we can only collapse.

For all our hard work in the evenings and even on Sunday, we get no extra pay. Workers in Sady get paid more than workers in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same job.

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Our comrade did not receive pay for the month of October from the Cucina restaurant in Plonsk. After demanding his salary and not receiving it, we planned to take action. We contacted the restaurant owner and it turned out they would not like to have any actions in front of their established, so the comrade was paid.

This is just another example of how you have to fight against bosses who abuse your rights and not just sit back and wait for them to do the right thing.

We are glad that the situation was settled and we hope that the owner won't try anything like that again!

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Amazon workers are on strike in Germany because of the lousy work conditions. The corporation decided that Poland would be a better place to find desperate workers, willing to slave for a quarter of the pay in Germany. However workers are already quitting due not only to the tough conditions but problems with payment. Workers are organizing with ZSP to get their salaries. A group of workers from Sady are the first demanding their payments.

Reports from Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie show that many workers have had problems with their payments – late payments, incorrect payment, lack of social security payments, etc. etc. In addition, some workers are not getting all the overtime they are entitled to and the company is using a three-month accounting period to calculate this. This means that somebody might work 200 hours one month but never see an overtime payment.

Many of the staff were hired through Manpower agency and, according to the act on remporary employment agencies, they are responsible for the timely payment of the workers, even if Amazon doesn't pay. Since the workers in question have contracts through the Manpower office in Warsaw, ZSP will be visiting and demanding payments. Visits to Amazon are also planned in the future. In the meanwhile, we are spreading the news about the problems at Amazon and Manpower and calling on people to support the workers!

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Over 100 people have received two year work contracts as cleaners and food servers in Belchatow hospital. This work was sent to outside companies some while ago and the outside companies started downsizing and putting people on trash contracts where workers were not entitled to paid vacations, sick leave or even a legal minimum wage.

At the end of April, the new contractor who had won the tender, did not accept the transfer of all workers, although it is obligatory under the labour code. 60 people were suddenly without a job, without any notice. Instead, new workers were hired on trash contracts. Members of our union in Belchatow struggled for 3 months, occupying the hospital and organizing different protest actions. As a result, a new contractor was found and all of them were hired on normal work contacts, with all due benefits and a guaranteed miminum wage.

Problems happened again in October, when people lost their jobs and the workers were supposed to do more work to cover. At the same time, some people were forced to work 200 hours a month and the company introduced more trash contracts. Some workers were now receiving less than half the minimum wage or even lower salaries, with absolutely no benefits or guarantees.

On November 3, 130 workers went on strike, demanding reinstatement of their colleagues and other changes. The company agreed to many of the demands, to rehire people and increase the amount of staff.

Now it turns out that a larger group of people where given normal work contacts. But not everybody has acted in an organized way, and trash contracts are still being used – probably for as much as a third of the staff.

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