By Oisin Sweeney • 03 December 2020 • 20:49
A SPANISH trade union has mobilised its legal team to pursue allegations that Amazon hired private detectives to infiltrate and report on a workers strike at their Barcelona warehouse.
Earlier in the week, Spanish newspaper El Diario claimed they had received a leaked report from Catalan private investigator (PI) agency Castor and Pollux. The 51-page document allegedly contains detailed reports made by PIs on the worker’s movement at a Barcelona warehouse during a strike on Black Friday last year.
These reports include photographs of unionists, workers, and journalists participating in the strikes which were part of a broader movement to demand better wages and conditions at Amazon facilities worldwide. The tech giant allegedly hired the famous US-based Pinkerton detective agency to spy on industrial actions, who outsourced the Barcelona strike surveillance to Castor and Pollux. C&P’s founder, Julian Peribanez, was previously accused of spying on the Catalan pro-independence movement in 2013 for the government.
The Worker’s Commission Union stated that they ‘want to know if Amazon carried out, through a contracted company, exhaustive monitoring of people, photographs, and prepared reports on workers and trade unionists’. The union said it ‘will assess with its legal services the filing of a criminal lawsuit against Amazon’. If the allegations are true, the tech giant will be in breach of Spain’s constitutional laws regarding data privacy and the right to assembly.
Among the report’s more dramatic alleged details, two PIs broke into and searched the vehicle of a journalist who had attended the strike demonstrations to interview participants. An official at the Worker’s Commission said that ‘these are practices typical of the first half of the last century that violate fundamental rights’.
They added that the union ‘are not willing to allow practices that we believed were already outdated and that go against basic standards both at the labour level and with regard to people’s privacy”.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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