Revelations. Amazon France: the real figures of an “unheard of” social breakdown

A “Unbelievable luck! » This is how, on October 3, 2017, to applause, a pair of scissors in hand, President Emmanuel Macron described the job creations of Amazon during the inauguration of the logistics warehouse in Boves (Somme). For him, as for liberals of all stripes, each new warehouse opened is an opportunity to stage a “economic dynamism” fantasized, that of an activity which would replace the industrial jobs of yesteryear.

The inconsistencies of the national social report

But, four years after this number of tap dances by Emmanuel Macron, an independent study analyzing social policy and employment at Amazon in France was presented to staff representatives during the last central social and economic committee (CSEC) of the company.

Produced at the request of CSEC elected officials by the accounting firm Progexa, this report publishes data hitherto inaccessible, and demonstrates that Amazon is in no way a ” chance “ for workers. The document begins with an incredible chronicle, that of the countless pitfalls that Amazon’s human resources management has posed to the experts throughout their mission, by responding late to their requests for information, or in an incomplete manner.

Furthermore, experts have found that “the national social balance sheet presents inconsistencies with the social balance sheets of the establishments” and “some social balance sheet indicators show totally erroneous figures”. The report nevertheless offers a panoramic view of the company’s activity and contains important revelations.

What about massive hiring on permanent contracts?

As part of their media appearances, the leaders of Amazon France repeat that the use of temporary work within their warehouses would be correlated to “a seasonal activity”. And, on this point, under the Sarkozy, Hollande and then Macron presidencies, there was no shortage of liberal political representatives favorable to the establishment of Amazon to be the parrots of the communicators of the American multinational.

Interviewed on June 25, 2012 during the inauguration of the Amazon warehouse in Sevrey (Saône-et-Loire), the Minister of Productive Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, defended Amazon as follows: “Listen, there are seasonal jobs, like in any activity. Harvesting is seasonal work. In industry, there are seasonal jobs. »

In 2021, 962 employment contracts were terminated at the end of the trial period.

In fact, rather than hiring workers on permanent contracts, Amazon deliberately maintains an extremely high percentage of agency workers. In 2021, temporary workers thus represent 42% of the total workforce hired by Amazon France. This figure dynamites the myth of the flagship of logistics which would hire in the chain on permanent contracts in socially devastated territories. “A significant part of the use of temporary workers remains structural at Amazon and would justify more recruitment on permanent contracts”, points out the report.

In order to support the growth of the company and its openings of new warehouses, the overall workforce of Amazon has increased: it will reach 16,571 FTE (full-time equivalents) in 2021. But Progexa experts have noticed that, at During the same year, temporary hirings increased more quickly than those on permanent contracts.

Using the trial period at Amazon…

In the past, Amazon generally imposed on its new recruits an interim period before hiring them on a permanent contract. From now on, in order to be able to benefit from public aid from Pôle emploi, the procedure has changed: Amazon directly signs CDIs to a large number of workers, then breaks their employment contracts in the chain before the end of their trial period.

For the year 2021, 962 employment contracts were terminated at the initiative of the employer at the end of the trial period! In total, one in five employees hired in 2021 left the company before the end of their trial period. For the Saran (Loiret) and Brétigny-sur-Orge (Essonne) sites, one in four hires did not materialize. The end of the trial period is now the leading cause of employee departures.

“The worst part of all this is that Amazon does not reimburse the public aid it receives from Pôle Emploi when it terminates a permanent contract at the end of the trial period”, indignant Alain Jeault, the central union representative of the CGT Amazon. For its part, Amazon refused to respond specifically to the criticisms of the Progexa report. The company was content to send to Humanity a pro domo plea claiming that it should create 3,000 jobs in 2022.

900,000 overtime hours in 2021

The staff turnover rate exploded in 2021: it rose from 22% to 48%. This is explained by a large number of departures, which have tripled in one year. Among workers and employees, this departure rate rose from 12% to 28%. Even more eloquent: after two years, more than one employee in five has already left the company. And one frame out of three! Similarly, more than one employee in ten leaves the company in the first year. At Amazon, 62% of layoffs are due to job abandonment, which says a lot about the extreme hardship of the work in its warehouses.

Experts also found that Amazon workers worked 900,000 overtime hours in 2021, the equivalent of 562 FTEs. And this, in order to be able to ship in one year more than 982 million articles. This means that on average, for all warehouses, a full-time worker handles around 65,000 items per year. Productivity up 1% in 2021.

In addition, over the past four years, occupational medicine has declared 106 Amazon employees unfit to continue their jobs. Of these 106 employees, only five have benefited from a suitable position. All the others were fired. Opened in 2019, the Brétigny-sur-Orge (ORY4) warehouse alone already has eleven unfit employees.

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