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The Saker
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Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

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Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

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the LIDL supermarket spy story

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Thursday March 27, 2008 15:18author by shapeshifting reptile Report this post to the editors

The German magazine "Stern" published a report on the supermarket LIDL in the last week which alledged the corporation had been spying on its employees. The story is now being taken up across Europe, where indeed workers shop in & work for the LIDL chain. The allegations are being supported daily by more and more evidence as can be seen by perusing the original articles at "Stern" complete with photos, a vid, extracts from internal memos, et cetera, so long & so forth.

Included in the internal memos were suggestions that menstruating women employees wear a coloured headband so managers could allow them extra "toilet time", time which would be denied male or non-menstruating employees. It gets worse.., "tattoos"........."wants higher wages"........"junkie friends".........
CCTV guards against theft, pilfering and un-scheduled menstruation at LIDL.
CCTV guards against theft, pilfering and un-scheduled menstruation at LIDL.

According to a report by the German weekly magazine Stern, Lidl has been spying for months on employees in several of its outlets. The company has allegedly been hiring detectives to investigate workers, both on the job, on cigarette and coffee breaks -- and even on the toilet. The explosive report triggered a government probe into the allegations on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg described the claims as "unparalleled," telling SPIEGEL ONLINE: "The supervisory authority has launched an investigation into possible violations of privacy protection rules." The ministry has jurisdiction because Lidl's corporate headquarters are located in the city of Neckarsulm in that state. The spokesperson said investigations could take several weeks and wanted to make no predictions about their possible outcome or consequences. The bulk of the reports cited by Stern come from Lidl outlets in the state of Lower Saxony, plus individual ones from the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein. The observation practices were routine, the report alleges: A detective would install between five and 10 miniature cameras in the store, telling the manager it was an anti-theft measure, and then use the technology to observe employees' behaviour. Stern claims to have obtained hundreds of pages of transcripts that document the movements and conversations of employees, for example: "Wednesday, 4:45 p.m.: Although Ms. N. has not accomplished much in the food and reduced wares department, she takes her break right on time. She sits together with Ms. L.; they talk about their wages, bonuses and paid overtime. Ms. N. hopes that her pay has been transferred already because she desperately needs money for this evening (reason = ?)". The transcripts also get into employees' private lives ("Her circle of friends consists mainly of junkies") and appearances ("Ms. M. has tattoos on both lower arms"). In their tone and detail, the observation logs invite comparison to those of the Stasi, the East German secret police......

English translation pages on Spiegel :-,1518,543....html

German pages from "Stern", basically the whole thing is there.

Vid - coverup - denial from LIDL boss - reams of extracts from internal memos & comparison to the Stassi. So far LIDL denying the stories are only admitting secret cameras in locations in Germany & the Czech republic. But "Stern" really has got its teeth into this & today the story is all over Europe in every language. Surveillance of workers as well as honesty test & the utterly appalling invasion of intimacy which monitoring the menstrual cycle of workers means is an affront to our collective rights & an insult to our class which is just too cheap to bear .

I'd suggest an immediate boycott or campaign of actions against LIDL stores.

pick-up in other press :

English language original -

English language translation -,1518,543....html

Spanish language

LIDL ireland :-

Stern :-

This week's "Stern" - the LIDL STASSI story. a must buy for workers.
This week's "Stern" - the LIDL STASSI story. a must buy for workers.

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Just rang head office in Ireland     ec    Thu Mar 27, 2008 15:58 
   Via Lidl's Public relations firm smarts in holywood co. down     ec    Thu Mar 27, 2008 16:11 
   " covert observations.."     Sharon.    Thu Mar 27, 2008 16:36 
   It's astounding isn't it? ........ná lig sinn i gcá it just LIDL?     iosaf mac diarmada    Thu Mar 27, 2008 23:25 
   LIDL offers an official apology .............."Ár n-arán laethúil tabhair dúinn inniu"     iosaf    Fri Mar 28, 2008 22:16 
   Lidl - worst possible company to work for!     kelly    Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:18 
   Flaunting Data Protection Law     Spied on    Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:49 
   3 for the price of 2 . squeeze the last cent from customers & workers alike .     Sceptic    Tue Aug 31, 2010 16:39 
   Strapped.     On the Dole.    Thu Sep 02, 2010 22:04 
 10   Still haven't learned and won't by the look of it.     Spied on    Fri Sep 03, 2010 17:32 
 11   workplace bullying in ireland     ex employee    Sat Sep 04, 2010 16:11 
 12   re:lidl chain     coffee guy    Sat Sep 04, 2010 17:12 
 13   lidl     choices you make    Sat Sep 04, 2010 23:04 
 14   bigger and bolder than that     corporate giants    Sat Sep 04, 2010 23:11 
 15   Lidl     COGGY    Sun Sep 05, 2010 00:26 
 16   dignity for rent     brent    Sun Sep 05, 2010 00:31 
 17   toilet break     holas    Sun Sep 05, 2010 00:46 
 18   re:lidl chain off the chain     coffee guy    Sun Sep 05, 2010 00:48 
 19   LIDL     seamus    Sun Sep 05, 2010 01:03 
 20   headband     ex lidl worker    Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:57 

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