Amazon, Spanish union bureaucracy work to close Martorelles facility

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The e-commerce giant Amazon is set to close its logistics hub in Martorelles, north of Barcelona, cutting 800 jobs. The 30,000 square meters plant at Martorelles, opened in October 2017, is set to close on April 22.

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This comes after Amazon announced the lay-off of 18,000 people worldwide in early January. In an update published on the company news site, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote that, including the layoffs announced in November, “we plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles.” Jassy said that the “majority of the role eliminations are in our Amazon Stores and PXT organizations.”

The planned closure of Martorelles is the latest in a global onslaught on tech and e-commerce jobs, after Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced 12,000 US layoffs earlier this week.

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Amazon aims to fire workers without the expenses associated with the collective dismissal process, in Spain. To do this, it is cynically offering workers the possibility of relocating to the new logistics centers to be built in Girona or Zaragoza, 100 and 300 kilometres away, respectively, from the current plant. Amazon will offer a lump sum of €3,000 to workers agreeing to move to the new logistics center opening in Zaragoza and €1,500 to those who move to the one in Figueres.

Such empty offers would force workers to leave their current residence to work for little more than €1,000 per month. The single payments of €1,500 or €3,000 would not even cover the housing and transportation expenses associated with this move. Amazon thus clearly expects most workers to resign voluntarily, to save costs.

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To employees who do not accept the transfer, Amazon proposes the legal minimum: compensation of 20 days per year worked, with a maximum of 12 months.

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The company’s majority union, the social-democratic General Union of Workers (UGT), close to the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE), is actively collaborating with this policy. The UGT bureaucracy accepts the company’s plans without objection, cynically declaring that ‘the forecast is that all the workers will be transferred.” Promptly contradicting themselves, however, they recognize ‘that not everyone will accept the company’s conditions.”

It ultimately proposes to do nothing beyond begging the Martorelles City Council and the Catalan government to look for ways to employ the logistics center that will remain empty.



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