News – At many Amazon facilities in Poland, Czechia and Slovakia, staff are often working beyond the point of exhaustion to meet ever-increasing quotas to avoid layoffs, a BuzzFeed News investigation found .
Documents and dozens of interviews reveal that Polish government inspectors found that workers were subjected to greater physical constraints than legally acceptable. Internal data showed that production quotas were increasing every week for at least a third of warehouse jobs. Staff at three central European facilities told BuzzFeed News they regularly saw colleagues pass out from exhaustion.
“It was all about productivity,” said Gabriel, a 57-year-old former employee. “It was difficult for me. It was so stressful to work under that kind of pressure.
Amazon has disputed claims that the company abused employees in Central Europe. “Our priority is always to fully comply with all applicable labor laws, and if something is not, we investigate and act immediately,” a company spokesperson said.
But Amazon’s success in Central Europe is based on a strategy it honed for years: The company had grown its bulkiest fulfillment centers by exploiting weak enforcement mechanisms in countries where standards of labor were similar to where Amazon first established itself, the United States.
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