Europe

Amazon dismisses German warehouse security firm

  • 18 February 2013
  • From the section Europe
Amazon warehouse, Bad Hersfeld, Hesse (file photo Dec 2010)
The Amazon warehouse at Bad Hersfeld featured prominently in the film

Online retailer Amazon has ended the contract of a security firm employed at one of its German warehouses, following complaints about workers' conditions.

The company, Hensel European Security Services (Hess), was accused of harassing seasonal workers in a TV documentary aired last week.

It prompted calls for an investigation from the German government.

Amazon said it had now terminated its relationship with the firm "with immediate effect".

"Amazon has zero-tolerance for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same from every company we work with," a spokesperson for Amazon said.

The documentary by state broadcaster ARD showed the conditions of employees at the warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, in the state of Hesse, brought in to help with the Christmas rush.

It claimed employees' rooms were searched, they were frisked at breakfast and constantly watched.

Many of the temporary workers came from Spain and Poland, and foreign workers were shown receiving the worst harassment from security guards.

Hess was under contract to an employment agency, not to Amazon itself.

Hess shares its name with Hitler's deputy in the Nazi party Rudolf Hess, and the documentary showed security guards wearing branded clothing linked with the neo-Nazi movement.

Last week the firm denied suggestions that it supported far-right political views.

More on this story