The Hidden Face of the Brands that We are Passionate About

“Some of the companies that usually appear in the lists of brands and most beloved companies also star in complaints about their working conditions.”

A few years ago, a French journalist infiltrated the Amazon stores during the Christmas campaign. He was one of the temporary extra workers that the distribution giant signed to reinforce the logistics center he had in Montélimar. The journalist had taken the step after trying to talk to the workers of the company and not getting any to tell him what was happening inside and what their working conditions were like.

“Here things are very strict,” explained the head of the temporary agency that was signing the journalist and the other temporary workers with whom he had met. “An absence or a delay, of only a few minutes, has to be justified,” he added.

It was the first step for Jean-Baptiste Malet to start working at Amazon on his night team from his logistics warehouse. Their experiences are counted in In the domains of Amazon, which was published a few years ago. When the book appeared on the market – in Spanish it was published in 2013 – it starred in reports, interviews and articles in the media, as well as serving as a starting point for the complaints and protests of many consumers, who promised on social networks not to buy again to the ecommerce giant.

The truth was that Malet was not even the first journalist to infiltrate Amazon or the first to publish his conclusions. The complaints, the articles and the promises of not buying more from that company were not, in fact, new. Claire Newel, British journalist for the Sunday Times, had already worked undercover in an Amazon logistics warehouse – and published her critical conclusions – in 2008. Between then and now, research has continued to be published. A journalist from The Sun pointed not many months ago, after having infiltrated the British subsidiary, that some of the logistics workers have to travel the entire 13 kilometers of the warehouse to get to the bathrooms.

The case of Amazon has been one of those that has appeared quite recurrent in the media, but it is not the only one. In fact, it could be said that it is one of the long list of companies that usually appear on the consumer’s favorite lists or that are able to hand out market shares and consumption figures and that have a B-side which is much less pleasant and much less beautiful than its products and its services.

A list that keeps growing

Netflix was the last to join the list. The VoD giant – which has become a cultural phenomenon and has a growing and stronger global presence – is also, according to the testimony of its employees, a work space full of pressure and confrontations among employees. blame for their internal politics.

The workers of the company even have to answer when their bosses ask them who they think should be fired among their colleagues, as if they were in the confessional of a reality show. If someone makes a mistake, he has to explain publicly why he did things wrong.

The list is broad and there is only a little scratch in the news to find examples. Apple, which was already splashed by the scandal of its subcontractor Foxconn a few years ago, subjects its Apple Stores employees to pressure and makes them endure not very good schedules, Dominos and McDonald’s are having many problems in the United States for the working conditions of their workers and they are paying very low salaries to their employees in the country (although McDonald’s problems are not only American: their British contracts were also controversial for making their store workers always available) and Ikea was accused to prevent their employees from forming unions.

Another recent example of how the backroom of companies tends to increasingly involve draconian conditions for their employees is Ryanair, whose Irish contracts limit the rights of their workers and which has been leading strikes of its employees throughout the last months. Europe.

Even in new industries, such as videogames, there are behaviors and practices of this style.