The Biggest Union of Spain is Suing Amazon for Spying on Striking Workers

Staff Union of Spain has already moved to take legal action against Amazon for violations of human rights and working conditions


RETAIL giant Amazon’s worker monitoring fiasco hit Spain as its Barcelona plant prepares legal proceedings against the firm.


It has emerged that Pinkertons, a multinational monitoring corporation, subcontracted the local security firm Castor & Polux to spy on its employees leading up to the October 30 strike last year.


Antonio Gimenez Raso, a former police officer, has also been appointed a ‘police liaison’ between the company and Mossos d’Esquadra.


In a leaked 51-page document acquired by the Spanish media outlet El Diario, Amazon allegedly spied on the plant leading up to the protest, taking explicit photos of the workers’ faces and car license plates.


Castor & Polux has apparently held several interviews with union employees, as well as a journalist who interviewed a worker, and then gave evidence to the police who eventually captured details of her car.


Amazon did not respond immediately to Motherboard’s request for comments. The spokesperson told El Diario that Amazon had not directed the Pinkertons or their affiliates to spying on the striking workers.


Amazon’s alleged spying emerged earlier this year in the United States, after the corporation revealed that it used worker monitoring to track workers to ensure that they reached optimum productivity.


They also admitted that products such as wrist bands, ID cards and cameras were used to operate against union activists and to discourage union action.


This is not the first time that the Catalan company and Giménez Raso have been taken to the spotlight for espionage. In 2013, both sides were involved in a legal case involving efforts by the Spanish Government to crush the pro-independence campaign in Catalonia and to spy on its supporters. Julian Peribanez, founder of Castor & Pollux, was accused of complicity by witnesses in the 2014 graft trial, as was Gimenez Raso.


The Staff Commission—biggest Spain’s trade union—has moved to take legal action against Amazon and Castor & Pollux over spying on striking workers at the BCN1 warehouse.


Actions by Amazon and Castor & Polux, the Workers’ Commission alleges, violates not only the right to strike and freedom of association, but also the right to secrecy, the protection of workers’ and union members’ records.


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