Amazon. “We were thrown like dogs”

A thriving sector, e-commerce holds a bleak dark side: more than 40 million French people order online each year, but are often unaware of the fate reserved for the army of delivery men who bring them packages home. In Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray (Seine-Maritime), the giant Amazon set up a depot two years ago. Every day, packages sent from all over the country are classified and then delivered by van to the region. “There are well-established clubs, but also a large number of small businesses, sometimes volatile, says Fabien Leseigneur, from CGT Fapt. Some are set up for “rush” periods, such as the closing party, and then pack up. A few weeks ago, employees of one of these companies knocked on the door of our office … Nine workers who had just been fired by telephone. Eight had no papers. »

“1,000 euros for 23 days of work”

They were employed by a small company, Lumina Services. Workers from Mali, Côte d’Ivoire or Guinea who fled their country by traveling through Italy, where they passed their driving licenses before trying their luck in France. When they first arrived in France, they accumulated unequal jobs, often in the supply sector, where the needs are enormous and the managers are not always very attentive. One fine day, some of those working in the Paris region at the time heard about the creation of a small parcel delivery company looking for workers for its Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray site. To entice the graduates, they would have been stuck with a promise of regularization through work. Ousmane (1) agreed to tell us his story on condition of anonymity.

An apartment where twelve people are crammed

Born in Ivory Coast in 1980, he arrived in France in April 2017 after traveling through Italy: “I have been delivering for three years. In October 2021, while working in Paris, an acquaintance told us that a business manager was looking for good delivery people near Rouen. It was Lumina Services. On October 13, we met the manager, who said she had found us a residence in Canteleu (nearby town, about 6 kilometers from Saint-Étienne-d) u-Rouvray – red). »

Pure “housing”, it is an apartment where twelve people are crammed together. As for working conditions, they do not have much to do with what was originally described, according to Ousmane: “We were promised a salary of 1,685 euros a month for fifteen days of work. To my surprise, the first month I received a check for 1,000 euros for 23 days of work! The manager explained to us that she could not do otherwise as the business had just started and was short of money. But the situation repeated itself from month to month. And we every time s deducted from the salary, several hundred euros a month … “

The promise of regularization never materialized. The workers end up finding CGT and begin a strike to get their unpaid wages paid as well as a regularization. “Some have received the equivalent of 700 euros for a month’s work, assures Fabien Leseigneur. Overtime was not paid, which is unfortunately common in a sector where people often work 60 hours a week paid 35. We demand payment of what is owed, and regularization in the prefecture. »

The head of Lumina Services confines himself to declaring this “If there are things to blame (him), it will be up to the authorities to act” ( 76 News, April 29). Amazon management responded in a statement: “The delivery companies that Amazon works with hire and manage their own teams. We are adamant that they must comply with applicable laws as well as the Amazon Supplier Code of Conduct. We are currently investigating (…) and will take appropriate action, if our delivery partner does not meet the requirements it does not meet the requirements. »

Not enough to soothe the anger of Ousmanes and his colleagues: “I worked until 2am, we all worked really hard. All this so that one day we would be fired orally after asking for our right. We were dumped like dogs without further explanation …”

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