Undeclared work: Customs control logistics companies

On Friday, customs checked the working conditions of forwarding, logistics and transport companies across Germany. Subcontractors of the online retailer Amazon were also checked. The officials of the financial control of undeclared work examined in particular whether there was social security fraud, bogus self-employment or violations of the minimum wage law. Most recently, according to their own statements, customs often had to do with pseudo-self-employed drivers, disguised black wage payments and forged proof of identity.

According to media reports, Amazon was primarily or exclusively affected by the raid. A spokeswoman for customs contradicted this. There were no instructions to check Amazon subcontractors. It was a routine check like in other industries. Photographs by photojournalists show how customs employees on the A4 in Saxony this Friday checked a tanker that apparently does not deliver Amazon parcels.

According to the Verdi union, a few months ago, despite stricter laws, Amazon was still the only large mail-order company that had "unwaveringly adhered to the concept of sub- and sub-subcontracting". In 2019, the federal government had obliged parcel services through the Parcel Protection Act to ensure that their many subcontractors pay social security contributions for all deliverers. According to Verdi, the success of the law depends on regular controls. According to customs, the nationwide swarming of officials had the preventive purpose of showing presence.

The legal subcontractor liability actually seems to have triggered a rethink in the industry. The situation a few months ago was that companies like Hermes and DPD were actually relying on more self-employment in parcel delivery and employed the first permanent employees instead of using subcontractors. The Deutsche Post subsidiary DHL recently granted its employees a corona bonus of 300 euros.

Amazon announced that it would meet the requirements of the legislature. All package suppliers of the group are "obliged to adhere to the applicable laws and the code of conduct for Amazon delivery partners". The focus is on fair wages, social benefits, reasonable working hours and remuneration.

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