Monday, December 16, 2013
"Workers at Amazon have decent working conditions of the nineteenth century"
" Amazon , they are great warehouses with metal shelves, a few computers and wireless terminals"
Platform for online sales Amazon makes 70% of its sales during the holiday season year-end , according to the German trade union Verdi. To cope with the explosion of past one-click approach Christmas orders, multinational recruiting interim hundreds to strengthen its teams.
Last year , Jean- Baptiste Mallet was one of the 1,200 employees hired to work in the warehouse Montelimar. This reporter reveals in his book, In the Amazon, infiltrated in the best of worlds , working conditions both archaic and ultramodern in force in Amazon warehouses, denied access to journalists.
Why did you choose for your Christmas infiltration in an Amazon warehouse?
Just because I had a good chance of being recruited . Amazon uses to massively during this interim period, which begins in late October and ends in late December. A Montelimar, 1200 Interim were recruited for Christmas. German workers [ currently on strike ] , explained to me that this was doubled or tripled some warehouses their workforce [ year-end ] . I want to reiterate that I infiltrated because the employees refused to talk to me when I asked and it is impossible to visit the warehouses as a journalist .
How much Christmas time is important to Amazon ?
Amazon makes 70% of its sales at Christmas. Begins in early December that the company calls the period of " rush ." It's pretty impressive when you go around warehouses that time , too. Buses of workers who live several kilometers are specially chartered , there is a back-and -forth incessant heavy trucks .
What is the purpose of your book ?
For many , Amazon is something very virtual. But even with the digital economy , the job is always present. I also wanted to show that the potential of the Internet have revolutionized the world of work in this sector. Amazon is a revolution in the industry. Logistics warehouses are governed by a very specific organization of work is not simply that of Taylorism and Fordism . It includes all the potential of the Internet and provides control tools perfectly unprecedented productivity .
Working methods that you describe in your book, very similar to those of line work in so-called traditional plants , are they at odds with the image of Amazon 2.0?
Each in his own image from the Internet . I do not want to take a moral discourse , simply recall facts and describe what happens in a supply factory. Workers at Amazon, far, far away on the progress of the twenty-first century , have working conditions that are worthy of the nineteenth century. Whatsoever with regard to the working conditions of temporary , whether in the rates imposed in checks productivity in body searches that are performed each time a worker crosses the porticos . Examples abound in my book and all tend to show that Amazon , as regards respect for social rights, is a company that is not progressive but reactionary perfectly .
Amazon warehouse in Chalon -sur- Saône , 13 December 2012 .
We are far from the famous slogan " Work hard have fun make history" ...
For me, this is not a contradiction. For we must bear in mind that Jeff Bezos ( Amazon 's current CEO ) is libertarian . I was also surprised to see the number of apologists portraits we have done that man. In the slogan there is "make history ", but we must see that written history. We can not settle for an apology powerful and billionaires just because they happen to gather energy. You have to see at what cost and what company they prepare us. For now , Amazon, before representing progress, this is a great first regression regarding the future of humanity .
How Amazon makes money ?
Amazon's strength vis-à -vis the local shops, is to have storage costs and much lower distribution. A logistics warehouse in suburban areas , is a rent which is much lower than that of a local business . After , it is undeniable that what makes the Amazon effectiveness is its IT infrastructure , which allows the shipment as soon as possible once the order placed because everything is fluidized by the network. This infrastructure allows a total control of everything that happens in the warehouse , including the level of workers. Amazon also does not need complex machinery such as automobile : actually , Amazon are big warehouses with metal shelves, a few computers and wireless terminals The most complex machine is the human being who thanks to computer lever can generate incredible wealth . The multinational also saves on the clocks , not placed at the entrance of the warehouse but three minute walk to the outrageous use of temporary and its tax evasion. You should know that Amazon has 198 million to the French tax authorities.
You do not expect all that you discovered ?
I expect hard work , culture in the U.S. , but not having to undergo moralistic discourse. Every day you are asked to be better than yesterday. There is a very ideological aspect to work and we will applaud the so-called " top performer" , the resurgence of Stakhanov workers in the USSR , which goes beyond what he was asked to do. Against the powers - are completely muzzled. Most die hard unionists [ CGT filed a complaint because they were arbitrarily searched ] . And it is quite surprising to see a multinational , as part of his work, once it has denied all the most elementary rights contained in the Labour Code , then strives to reproduce a form of collectivism . I think this is because Amazon is a world that is out of touch.
How do you see these working conditions evolve?
I think there is real hope in Germany, where trade unionists were successful with a lot of intelligence to reinvent the tools of trade unionism with the simple argument of law. This could be an example for other companies in Europe. I also think that there is a policy response to , especially about tax evasion. In the last step , and it is not something ridiculous , the consumer himself can ask the question of what he earns consuming on Amazon and it loses. I am not convinced that most French want to see the political distribute public subsidies for the establishment of such warehouses, as Amazon does not need public money today. Moreover, during the implementation of the fourth warehouse in the North - PPAS -de- Calais, the region did not state aid .