Amazon-Betriebsrat fliegt, weil er Hubertus Heil und Stephan Weil getroffen hat

Sebastian Friedrich is a columnist for Friday and has been exploring the ideologies of everyday life in his „Lexicon of the Performance Society“ since 2013. Denise M’Baye and he are the hosts of the NDR Philosophy Podcast „Tea with Why.“ The current episode’s topic is „Quiet Quitting.“The sociologist Nicole Mayer-Ahuja is a guest, and there will also be a discussion about Frigga Haug and her Marxist-feminist 4-in-1 perspective.

In the field of architecture, the claim is evident: In the largest hall of the labor court in Verden, employers and employees do not sit opposite each other, but together at a large, bright wooden table. On September 19th, the following individuals take their seats: the HR manager of the Amazon logistics warehouse in Achim near Bremen, accompanied by two lawyers from a large international law firm – and works council member Rainer Reising with his lawyer. Behind the parties involved, there are more than 50 people seated. Two Amazon spokespersons, half a dozen journalists, and especially union members and activists who want to support Reising.

Mit Unterstützung von Verdi

His case had already caused a stir months ago. The suspended works council member and other Amazon works council members had met with Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Lower Saxony’s Minister President Stephan Weil (both SPD) at the beginning of the year. Two photos were taken during the meeting, which quickly circulated; an act of solidarity with a colleague whose contract Amazon did not renew, even though he was active as a works council member at the Wunstorf location. The suspicion: Amazon wanted to get rid of him because he is also an active Verdi member. Amazon has been accused for years of not being particularly open to Verdi.

Amazon became aware of the photo. A few weeks after it was taken, Reising received a bill in the form of an extraordinary termination. Amazon accused him of providing false information about his working hours. Reising filed a lawsuit against Amazon with the support of Verdi.

In court, Amazon’s lawyers argue that trust has been broken and they have no interest in reinstating Reising. However, Reising desires exactly that in order to continue advocating for the employees‘ interests. This case is similar to others, such as the former works council member in Wunstorf, whom Reising has shown solidarity with. There is also a legal dispute between Amazon and the works council chairman at the Winsen location, south of Hamburg, where the HR department accuses the works council of time fraud as well.

This potential connection is irrelevant to the judge in Verden. She decides in favor of Amazon. The trust is permanently damaged, the termination is proportionate, and reinstatement is unreasonable. There is unrest in the courtroom, and a supporter calls out to the judge that the verdict is a blow to all works councils. On this day, there is hardly anything left of the social partnership except for a wooden table.