Amazon fired a German security firm that a television documentary linked to the country’s far-right in a move to curtail a growing public relations fiasco over alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers, Financial Times reports.
An ARD documentary examined the treatment of seasonal workers, often during the busy Christmas holiday period, hired by an Amazon subcontractor in Germany. According to the report, workers were housed in cramped conditions under constant watch by security officers, the article says.
Amazon fired the security service in question, stating “As a responsible employer of approximately 8,000 salaried logistics employees, Amazon has zero-tolerance for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same from every company we work with.”
The public outcry reflects a growing national concern about working conditions in the low wage sector, the article reports.
Hensel European Security Services denied any connection with far-right radicalism and noted its high proportion of immigrant workers of various religions, Financial Times reports. The company says its presence on-site was necessary because of the potential for conflict among workers and to prevent property damage. Some of the security personnel, however, in black uniforms and with military-style haircuts, were shown in the documentary wearing a clothing brand linked in the minds of many Germans with the far-right.
Amazon is working to combat reputational damage in Europe – the company is known for its secrecy, but the allegations have forced the company to respond.