Secret dating Leipzig
There were six packing lines at Amazon’s Augsburg center, each with two conveyor belts feeding tables where the packers stood and did the packing.The first conveyor belt fed the table with goods stored in boxes, and the second carried the goods away in sealed packages ready for distribution by UPS, Fed Ex, and their German counterparts.” But alongside these digital controls there was a team of Taylor’s “functional foremen,” overseers in the full nineteenth-century sense of the term, watching the employees every second to ensure that there was no “time theft,” in the language of Walmart.An anonymous German student who worked as a temporary packer at Amazon’s depot in Augsburg, southern Germany, has given a revealing account of work on the line at Amazon.
Amazon’s shop-floor processes are an extreme variant of Taylorism that Frederick Winslow Taylor himself, a near century after his death, would have no trouble recognizing.
With this twenty-first-century Taylorism, management experts, take the basic workplace tasks at Amazon, such as the movement, shelving, and packaging of goods, and break down these tasks into their subtasks, usually measured in seconds; then rely on time and motion studies to find the fastest way to perform each subtask; and then reassemble the subtasks and make this “one best way” the process that employees must follow.
Amazon is also a truly global corporation in a way that Walmart has never been, and this globalism provides insights into how Amazon responds to workplaces beyond the United States that can follow different rules.
But in Germany Amazon has to deal with work councils (); a powerful union, the United Services Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, or Ver.
Di), with 2.2 million members; and high officials of the federal and state governments more closely aligned with labor than their counterparts in the United States and the United Kingdom. Di representatives in Leipzig called on the management of Amazon’s local center to open negotiations on wage rates and an improvement of working conditions, and especially for temporary workers who are badly exploited at Amazon, management refused on the grounds that employees should be “thinking about their customers” and not about their own selfish interests.He is French born, and he still speaks with the rather faded insouciance of Maurice Chevalier and “Gay Paree,” and he makes much of this in his lecture.