No less than Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, has gotten into the fray of allegations against virtual marketplace Amazon over employing neo-Nazi tactics against its foreign workers. Ms Merkel wants the online retailer to explain pronto.
An investigative report aired by German TV channel ARD last week put the spotlight on Amazon, much unwanted though, depicting it as an employer that harasses its overseas employees to the extent of allegedly hiring neo-Nazi security guards to routinely intimidate the seasonal workers at Amazon supply centers located in Augsburg, Konztanz and Bad Hersfeld.
Ms Merkel wants Amazon to explain why it resorts to such tactics. And should the revealing documentary be proven true, Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's Employment Minister, said she would revoke the licences of companies that Amazon contracted to those find temporary workers as well as provide site security.
Amazon had said the actions of its contractor do not reply the company's policies, and that it was an entirely different principle of the contractor. It committed to investigate the matter.
The documentary showed guards employed by a company named "HESS Security" were the ones who keep order at the hostels and budget hotels where the foreign workers stayed. They wore black uniforms, boots and sport military haircuts.
The documentary suggested that the name "HESS" was associated with Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy.
The videotape showed the guards, who wore black leather clothing from designer Thor Steinar, searched the bedrooms and kitchens of foreign staff and inspected workers to check they had not walked away with extra breakfast rolls. The Steinar brand was ordered banned by the German government for sale because of its neo-Nazi associations. Amazon ironically stopped selling it since 2009.
A certain worker named "Maria" was confronted by a muscular, tattooed security guard and told to leave when she was found drying her wet clothes on a wall heater.