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Amazon under fire for using neo-Nazi guards to control immigrant workers

Germany authorities are demanding explanations from Amazon, the online shopping giant after it emerged that its seasonal workers were harassed by security guards.

A TV documentary by state broadcaster ARD said employees' rooms were searched, they were frisked at breakfast and constantly watched, BBC reported.

The film showed the living and working conditions of agency workers brought in to help with the Christmas rush, principally at an Amazon warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, in the state of Hesse.

Many of the temporary workers were from Spain and Poland. The documentary showed that workers from outside Germany received worst harassment from Hensel European Security Services (Hess) – security guards with neo-Nazi connections.

According to ARD, the name Hess Security is an allusion to Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.

BBC reported that Hess was under contract to an employment agency, not to Amazon itself.

"The suspicion weighs heavily; therefore all facts must be put on the table as quickly as possible," the German Employment Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "If the special investigation finds that there is some substance to the complaints against the employment agencies, then their licences are in question."

While rejecting allegations that it supported the far-right, Amazon confirmed the guards had carried out room searches.

In a statement on Friday, Amazon said: "Our goal is to deliver orders quickly and reliably to our customers.

"We know this only works with a contented workforce… We will follow up each incident in our logistics centres and their surroundings which is brought to our attention by our staff, and if need be, will implement thorough improvements."

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