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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Amazon works council: lawsuit unsuccessful after termination

A works council meets two politicians during his working hours. A short time later he receives the notice of termination. That was legal, a court decides.

Street sign with the inscription Amazonstrasse.

Here it is clear who decides: Street sign in front of an Amazon warehouse in Germany Photo: Markus Matzel/imago

VERDEN/ACHIM dpa | The Verden Labor Court has dismissed the lawsuit filed by a former Amazon works council regarding his dismissal. The ex-employee gave contradictory information to his employer about travel costs and his working hours, said a spokesman for the labor court after the verdict on Tuesday. “He should have communicated it differently.” The termination was therefore legal.

According to his own information, the works council member met with Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (both SPD). He received an invitation from the two politicians to discuss data protection, IT tools and how to deal with co-determination in his company. He spent several hours away from his workplace in Achim (Verden district) for each meeting.

Amazon saw this as a fraud regarding working hours and travel expenses and fired the works council member at the beginning of March 2023. The other members of the works council agreed to the dismissal without notice. The court also dismissed the lawsuit. It’s not about the interpretation Work as a works council, argued the labor court, but rather the incorrect handling of the declaration of working hours and travel costs. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

Verdi wants to take action against the verdict

The Verdi union has already announced that it will take action against the verdict. “We are going to the state labor court in Hanover,” said a union spokesman. According to Verdi, around 50 people gathered in front of the court for a rally on Tuesday and also took part in the trial. “From our perspective, Amazon has “It’s basically a problem with union-active works councils,” criticized Nonni Morisse, Verdi’s secretary for Amazon in Lower Saxony, before the verdict was announced.

Amazon, on the other hand emphasized the “good and trusting cooperation” with the works councils and the equal treatment of all employees. At the same time, the company is “investigating all allegations of misconduct. The works council had agreed to the termination,” said an Amazon spokesman.

According to the company, the Amazon location in Achim was opened in spring 2021, and a works council has been established there since 2022. 1,900 employees work in the logistics center. Other logistics centers in Lower Saxony are in Winsen/Luhe in the Harburg district, in Helmstedt and in Großenkneten in the Oldenburg district. The group is represented at twelve locations nationwide and employs around 7,000 people.

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