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Germany to probe claims of staff abuse

Source:AFP Published: 2013-2-17 23:43:01

A German government minister called Sunday for a thorough probe into allegations that foreign seasonal workers hired in Germany by US online retail giant Amazon were harassed and intimidated.

Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that any proof of wrongdoing could result in serious consequences for the temporary employment agency used by Amazon.

"There is a strong suspicion here which is why we need to lay all the facts on the table," she said. "If the investigation shows there is something to the accusations against the temporary placement agency then its license is at risk."

A public television documentary broadcast Wednesday said workers brought in from crisis-hit countries such as Spain to help at Amazon warehouses faced bullying from security personnel, some of whom wore clothing associated with neo-Nazi groups.

It added that the US company paid the workers less than advertised and that their belongings were regularly searched in the temporary housing they were provided.

Services union Verdi has long accused Amazon of paying its seasonal workers unfair wages and going overboard on surveillance.

Amazon said it was also looking into the allegations.

AFP

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