On Monday January 26th, members of Manchester SF picketed outside Manpower's office in Manchester city centre in solidarity with Amazon workers (many of them hired by Manpower) in Poland. A week of action has been called by the ZSP, Polish section of the International Workers Association, who are organising among these workers. For details of the dispute see below.

This Manpower office is above a hairdressing salon, on the 1st floor of a building shared by a number of companies, and is therefore not very visible from street level. Despite this, and after handing in our information leaflet at Manpower's reception, our presence ruffled the feathers of management inside, who tried to have us moved on by the building managers. Of course, we stayed put and ignored the usual claims that we were creating a health & safety hazard / trespassing on private property / embarrassing Manpower management [delete as appropriate].


Manpower profits from the cheap labour of Amazon workers in Poland

ZSP started union activity in December 2013 at Amazon’s fulfilment centres in Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie. Some workers are hired directly by Amazon while others are hired through the Manpower and Adecco work agencies.

People started to leave work at Amazon due not only to the terrible working conditions, but also due to problems with incorrect payments. A few people decided to organise.

We started with Manpower, since the biggest problems seemed to be for people hired through this agency, while Adecco made payments quickly and went to Amazon to straighten out the situation. We picketed Amazon and some payments were made but Manpower has not acted quickly in most cases.

This situation continues and we expect new problems in January, when workers get paid for December. We believe the problem originates with Amazon, but agencies like Manpower are still responsible for ensuring proper payments are made.

More information:


The working conditions in Amazon’s Polish warehouses, which mostly serve the German market, but also France and the UK, are extremely poor:

• stressful, high-pressure work;

• non-stop running around the warehouse;

• 10.5 hour shifts – 10 hours work plus unpaid 30 minute lunch break and no other breaks;

• changing shifts – workers have to work 18:30-05:00 half of their working time;

• no extra pay for night shifts and Sunday work;

• salaries of around 3 euros an hour gross – about ¼ of the salaries in Germany for the same work.

Working conditions vary in Amazon, but in the UK workers earn more for night work and in many countries there are additional 15 minute breaks – not in Poland. Also, workers in Sady, near Poznan, are paid more than those in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same work.


Workers feel they were misled about working conditions when recruited through Manpower and Adecco. They were led to believe they would earn more money. It was not explained that they would not get extra pay for evenings and Sundays and the agencies do not provide the workers with transparent pay slips, clearly showing how their pay is calculated. Manpower and Adecco wanted to fill as many places as possible before the xmas holiday season and workers feel cheated by these agencies.


Through a communication forum, ZSP now receives dozens of reports about new problems. Workers received no pay for time spent on health and safety training or for days when they were employed but Amazon did not assign them work. For some workers this was as long as 3 weeks. In both cases they are entitled to pay. Workers are forced to move large boxes filled with books manually by cart. There have been cases where the agencies have not paid social security / health care payments, so workers are not insured in case of injury.


• higher rates of pay for work at night and on Sundays

• 15 minute paid break

• no difference in working conditions for directly employed and agency workers

• equalisation of salaries in Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie

• payment for time without assigned work

• payment for health and safety training

• forklifts for heavy loads.


• a clear explanation of working time and the accounting period to workers before they sign contracts

• clear pay slips, showing the number of hours worked and all deductions

• payments made in full by the 10th day of the month, in accordance with the law

• social security / health care payments to be made on time

• payment for time without assigned work

• payment for health and safety training

• money for laundry equivalent (which appears on payslips but is not paid).

Fax / Email to Amazon:

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon –  

Kerry Person, Director of Operations –,  

Fax: +352 26 73 33 32 or +1 206 622-2405

We support the campaign of the ZSP for better working conditions in Amazon Poland! No to exploitation and taking advantage of cheap labour! Give the workers a break and higher wages!

To Manpower:

US Headquarters – Fax: +1 (414) 319-3401

Warsaw Office – Fax: + 48 22 50 40 717

We support the demands of workers in Amazon Poland to receive their payments correctly and on time from your agency! Manpower profits from the cheap labour of Amazon workers in Poland!

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This article was published on 27 January 2015 by the SolFed group in Manchester. Other recent articles:

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