Actions in Defense of Workers' Rights in OTTO Work Force Temporary Agency

OTTO Work Force action

In the beginning of February 2011 a campaign has started against the exploitation of workers in a Dutch based OTTO temporary agency.

Since then actions took place at several office branches in Holland, Poland, Slovakia and Czech; and in Holland, a group of Polish workers, comrades from de Vrije Bond (AGA and ZAG) and the ZSP visited some workers “hotels”. The campaign started when the company did not extend the contract of one of the workers who contacted AGA. Few other workers spoke out since then and claim their demands.

OTTO temporary agency is the biggest employer of workers from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Holland. There is an OTTO office in Great Britain and the company claims to have representation also in Bulgaria. You can see the map with offices at OTTO's website.
Salaries, lack of payment for sick leave or vacation, living conditions and lack of minimum of space, a system of labour control and fines, are among the many problems the workers face.

More information can be found here:
IWA-AIT website
Campaign website
ZSP-IWA website

On Wednesday 3rd March there will be a meeting of the main OTTO Work Force owner Frank van Gool with the workers. If you want to show him what you think of his company's practices, send him an e-mail or a fax till Wednesday noon! You can use the following model letter or make one yourself:

Frank van Gool
Hoofdkantoor Nederland
OTTO Work Force
Keizersveld 51
5803 AP Venray
Postbus 5145
5800 GC Venray
Fax: +31 478 529900
E-mail: fvangool@ottoworkforce.eu

OTTO WORKFORCE
– STOP CHEATING WORKERS!

I have heard many complaints from Polish and Slovak workers about late payments, ungrounded deductions from their pay, and horrible living conditions. Your company is fining people for “rules” they did not break, and “regulations” they have never seen or signed. Blso, OTTO is not fulfilling their oral and written promises given to the workers.

I demand that you quit these abusive practices and pay the workers what you owe them!

You are very well aware of the fact that several workers did not receive their full salaries, money for sick pay, vacation equivalent etc. This is completely unacceptable.

I emphasize the fact that until you fulfill the workers’ demands and stop your abusive practices we will continue to expose what OTTO is about in reality to your potential clients and general public!

NO MORE EXPLOITATION OF FOREIGN WORKERS!
NO MORE SHORT OR LATE SALARIES!
BETTER CONDITIONS AND DIGNITY FOR THE WORKERS!

Comments

MT
Mar 2 2011 08:46

For those who don't like copy-pasting messages - you can use this form on Priama akcia website to send a soli e-mail very fast.

You need to fill:
E-mail
Name
Town
Country

MT
Mar 21 2011 08:07

Today's occupation of the Dutch headquarters of OTTO agency in Venray is being met with police action and even some beatings occurred!

The bus the activists took to get to Venray was stopped before it reached the headquarters and most of the Dutch citizens are being arrested. Foreign citizens are being released now. Some activists are still in the bus, others outside checked by the police. Situation is a bit chaotic, so more news later perhaps.

MT
Mar 21 2011 08:26
MT
Mar 29 2011 20:31

Vrije Bond's yesterday press release

First victory against OTTO Workforce

After our protest at the main office of OTTO Workforce in Venray on Monday March 21st the initial results are in. During this action 20 people got arrested, which caused a local disturbance and received a lot of media attention. Because of this protest, OTTO director Frank van Gool, was forced to give in to some of the demands of the company’s ex-workers.

We know now that P. finally got his back pay and part of the fines returned. A different ex-worker also received a big part of his back pay. Further, it has been confirmed that two other ex-workers, which were in contact with the Vrije Bond and the ZSP, also have collected money from OTTO. Though we must admit that in some cases only a portion of the total demanded amounts have been paid back. We won’t give in until all the money has been returned.

Frank van Gool has agreed orally that he will improve workers’ accommodations. We will keep a close eye on this! On the other hand, Van Gool is still denying that the company uses a fine system. He also claims that the above-mentioned cases are only ‘incidents’. We strongly doubt this. OTTO still has the rule that workers are not allowed to talk about their experiences with OTTO – a consequence of breaking this rule will result in a fine of 1000 Euros. So it’s no wonder that until now only a few workers dared to stand up for themselves and make their complaints known to the outside world.

The campaign of the Vrije Bond, ZSP and Priama Akcia has shown thus far that fighting for your rights pays off! There are visible effects when workers organize and unite against exploitation. That’s why we call up all (ex-)workers of OTTO to make their complaints known through a special e-mail address: ottoslaveforce@gmail.com. Or contact the Vrije Bond, the ZSP or Priama Akcia.

Our campaign against OTTO will continue until all our demands have been met!

Our demands are:

- To put an end to the fine and penalty system for OTTO workers;
- Oral and contractual promises should be delivered;
- Improved accommodation for workers for a lower rent;
- Travel costs should be paid by OTTO and not by the workers;
- To put an end to the 500 Euro fine for ending the contract early by the worker;
- To stop fining the workers who talk about their experiences with OTTO to others.

For more information:

http://zsp.net.pl (Polish)
http://www.priamaakcia.sk (Slovak)
http://www.vrijebond.nl (Dutch)

MT
Apr 22 2011 11:00

Protest in Banská Bystrica: Another red card for OTTO Workforce agency

On Wednesday, 20th April, Priama akcia organized a protest against the practices of OTTO Workforce. The office in Banská Bystrica was visited by almost a dozen activists. We wanted to express solidarity with the workers who have been cheated by the agency. With this action, Priama akcia also joined the IWA Days of Struggle against Borders and in Solidarity with Immigrant Workers.

More info: http://www.priamaakcia.sk/Protest-in-Banska-Bystrica-Another-red-card-for-OTTO-Workforce-agency.html

akai
Apr 22 2011 11:47

Nice! We will be asking people to send emails about another case in a couple of days. He was injured on the job and later told to fuck off and left with medical bills and no help.

It might be worth noting that just recently OTTO had big problems in Zeist, where they had a type of camping where workers lived. The comrades from Vrije Bond and ASB did an informational action there a couple of weeks ago. OTTO got in trouble since people are not supposed to have such housing conditions and the authorities threatened to fine them 20,000 euros a day if they did not move the workers. There were over 450 people there and it was a big story in the news.

As a result to the attention brought by our campaign to the housing conditions and the incident in Zeist, OTTO decided to outsource housing (presumably to avoid responsibility). But the deal is strange - it is outsourced to another work agency and the boss of OTTO has some ties to its owner. We are not sure how this is now going to look for the workers, but we will see.

akai
Apr 24 2011 07:46

About the emails, you can use an online form here:
http://otto.zsp.net.pl/send-protest-emails-to-otto/email/

And the whole story is here:
http://otto.zsp.net.pl/send-protest-emails-to-otto/

Doctors prescribed sick leave to the worker exactly one month ago, since he got a hernia lifting heavy things. But he just is getting the run around and OTTO wipes their hands of the situation and acts like if somebody is injured they have the right to end their contract.

Please send an email to the boss because he claims that he is "interested" to find out about things that go wrong in his socially-responsible company smile, which of course can only be accidents that he knows nothing about. hehe

MT
May 14 2011 19:59

Red card for OTTO Work Force agency in Olomouc

After protests in Prešov and Banská Bystrica in Slovakia Priama akcia focused on the recruitment office in Olomouc, Czech Republic. We visited the premises with a local journalist from the paper Olomoucký deník (article in Czech here). We handed over a red card to the employee, who accepted it without objections and promised to fax it to the management in Holland and inform the CEO Frank van Gool about the protest. She indirectly indicated that she has her own opinion regarding the problematic practices.

More info: Red card for OTTO Work Force agency in Olomouc