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Dear Frank,
Let me give you the letter which I have planned to send you very long time. Let me first introduce myself, my name is Marek Tretera, I come from Czech Republic, I have been employed by OTTO since September 2009. Since this time I have got many experience how the life and work goes by OTTO. I dared to write you this. Please accept this letter like opinion from one of common OTTO worker.
I always read very carefully your four weeks periodical - OTTO news, so I decide to react on this, as you have appealed us to write to you feedback. So I am doing via this letter what you have asked us for.
Please, let me be honest. Although I do not know you personally, we have not met yet, I feel respect to you, because I can see that OTTO company is growing and this is mainly your credit. I wish you and whole OTTO this success.
On the other hand (I am still honest) many of your news given to us make me angry, and I am sure that only not me. I explain you why. It seems to me, that your experience how internal things go in OTTO is totally different than our experience. I remember here one Czech saying: When king wants to reign, he must come to meet his people. This is what I think you miss. You probably have met many OTTO workers and spoken with them, but I dont think that they have been honest and have told you what they really think about OTTO. So, let me do that.
In one of OTTO news periodical you published some overlook with statement that from your internal research about 70\% OTTO workers are happy in OTTO. I would really like to see those 70\%. I would say that the numbers are vice versa, 30\% really happy OTTO workers seems to me be closer to reality.
My colleague was asked how he is happy with money he gets from Otto. Which answer OTTO expect to this question, when most of us get the minimal wage which is allowed to get in Netherland??? How we can be happy with this fact? The answer to this can be, why we all are still here, when we are not happy. More people, more different reasons.
When I answer myself, I am here, because I love travelling, getting to know new places, countries, new people, learning languages etc. I am abroad since I finished my university study and generally say, I have been always abroad because of different lifestyle, travel, language or just adventure. But I am sure, once I want to come back and live in my country. With my education the money which I get here I can easily get in Czech or any other country too. So for me the stay here is really not because of money. I am sure there are many people here with the same point of view as me.
1. Money
When I have already mentioned the money, I will continue in this subject. The worst thing what OTTO can do to us, and what OTTO do very often is, that it even does not pay to somebody for his/her worked hours, or even whole worked days. It happens to many workers in OTTO each month when salary comes to our bank accounts. For example my girlfriend, she has been here more than one year, it has happened her many times. And what is really bad, even when was proved that she should be paid for those hours, either she had to wait over couple months until she was paid, or she has not been paid at all, until today. This is really sad. I think you agree it should not happen at all. Nevertheless to say, that when you really want to be paid well, you have to send to OTTO many Vraagboxes, remind all OTTO staff again and again, that you have not been still paid good, etc. This is all always really annoying for everybody.
One example: One friend of mine was not paid for all her first day at Otto/Flextronics. The problem was that her Flextronics identify card was still not done in Flextronics. But she was promised by Otto staff, she could easily come to work and her working hours will be signed later. This of course did not happen. Flextronics and Otto simply did not sign any hours for her. She was not paid for whole day. After 4 months, after many Vraagboxes, many personal speeches and calls she was still not paid. The answers what she got via Vraagboxes are so poor, that is shame to write something like this. I would really like to see the person who replies to those Vraagboxes.
For example, to one Vraagbox to which all working hours were clearly attached and signed by my friend, Otto replied that they did not receive any list with her worked hours and thats why they could do anything. While the Vraagbox was received from Otto as was sent before with all attached worked hours! Is is normal? This guy who replies to this, must be either brain disabled or just did her kidding. But I dont think this issue is funny.
This issue was opened in April 2010. My friend left Otto in August 2010 without being paid for her first working day here! Finally she got this money in October 2010, after two additional urgent Vraagboxes. So, she got the money for her first working day at Otto after more then 6 months, of course without any explanation or any apologize from anybody. Great work from Otto!
And similar situations like this I would be able to count a lot, really a lot, when I would make interview with some OTTO workers. I have mostly bad experience with reporting the missing money either to our location managers or account managers in OTTO Inhouse office. The reply from OTTO then either does not come at all or after very long time. The OTTO staff tends to say us to write Vraagboxes instead they help us right with some issue. I was witness several times, when someone was told by OTTO manager to write Vraagbox for small issue, which could be solved in 5 minutes. Why they would take care, when is much easier to hand over responsibility, isnt it? Ok, lets say they are too busy to cover all issues immediately. But this is not our problem, this is problem by you, by OTTO management. Their main mission is to work for us, provide support and connection between us OTTO workers and main office in Venray, isnt? Some of Otto managers dont seem to know really what is their main job. From my point of view OTTO should have more staff, then maybe the service for us will be quicker and better. But they are few of them, all of them have a lot of work, so they fuck up their job. This is just my option where I see the main problem.

2. Vraagboxe
This is also another great service, which actually does not work, how should. Sending Vraagbox and waiting for answer is always for long term, even when is considered by OTTO that response time is maximum two weeks. I have never received Vraagbox in two weeks when I have sent it through either my location or account manager. I always have to wait about 4-5 weeks. I do not then understand the meaning of this service, because when I need to ask for something what is actual now, after 5 weeks this issue is not hot any more. Once I asked via Vraagbox, why the reply is always so late. I got quite poor answer, that reason is because they need mostly communicate with my account or location manager about the issue which I ask for! I dont really care what they need to discuss, with who and which way. Even when they have to discuss some issue through Australia, I should always receive the answer within two weeks as the agreement is. This is then mere mockery to us.
I think they all just try to handle with responsibility for some issue. Many times the answer for simple question sent via Vraagbox was explained so unclear and incompletely, that I even did not understand it.
One Ffact can be interesting for you. The Vraagbox sent via Post box addressed direct to Otto office in Venray, is answered in 3 days! I have tried it several times. What a big difference! So the problem is more likely in flow between Location/account managers and main Otto office.

3. Holiday and new contract request forms
By the way all requests sent through either location or account managers are received then from main OTTO office very late, I mean first of all holidays request from and new contract forms, which are given us very often very late, or even not sent at all. It has happened to us many times, even when we applied always 30 days in advance as required. Be aware it happens not only to us, but the same experience has almost everybody who lives in Otto park. Its nothing uncommon that even 1 day before planned holiday and before flight day, we still did not have our holiday as approved. When we ask Otto staff what is wrong with our holiday, the answer is often given, that the fault is on a company side (where we work through OTTO). But when we ask next day our supervisors in the company they simply tell us that nothing has been sent from Otto yet, so it means then, that the OTTO staff just lies straight to our faces and tell us something what is far from reality just with reason to give us some answer. This is how they help us. I have been witness of this situation at least twice.
Can you imagine the situation when you have already booked and paid you flight tickets, all arranged for your long time planned vacation, and till the last moment you are waiting for approval from OTTO? And nobody is able to give you any final answer if yes or no? Do you really know this happens very often, I am not afraid to write it happens to somebody every day. As my girlfriend last time. She applied for 3 days holiday over Christmas time, 22-24th December. She received the approval on 11th January 2011, signed by Otto from 5th January! This is something what I really don`t understand. How could somebody sign under this request when the date was gone and the request no more actual of course and then have the audacity to send it in January. I would really like to meet this person and tell what I think about him/her.
The same is with contract extension. There are received very often so late, that is even later then the old contract expire date. This is the way how OTTO treats their workers? Till the last day keep us uninformed, feared, stressed and annoyed to Otto that the contract extension has not been delivered yet? Otto is not ashamed to response to holiday or contract request so late? How we can be happy with your service then, when you dont reply to our request in time? My girlfriend had this issue couple weeks ago. One Friday was her last day from her old contract, she applied for new contract far in advance. On this Friday even after several calls to Otto, she still did not have any answer from Otto. The same as with holiday form, she again got the answer that her contract is hanging on the company where she works. But her supervisors did not receive anything from Otto, they even were not informed that this is her last day with old contract!
Finally she got the new contract, but again after several urgent calls, needless to say she got the contract without any apologizes from Otto. This is simply their way of work how they treat us and work with us. In their eyes we are always those bad guys who make problems and claim on something, but when they fuck up almost each service for us, thats all right, they dont care of this more.
Another issue which I want to mention here is the daily planning. The working plan is announced every evening in our Otto Park - Siedlung very late, usually at 20.30-21.00, some times even later. Really great for many people whose working hours start very soon in the morning, so they have to wake up at 4 or even earlier. How those people can be happy with Otto? Come to hear them how they claim every evening when they wait for plan at 9 pm outside cause they need to know as possible their working hours and get to sleep. How you would feel when you will not know your working hours for tomorrow and even the company and kind of work you will have to do tomorrow? When they dont know until the last moment where Otto is going to send them tomorrow, what to dressed, how much food they need to take with, what they should be prepared etc. Otto treats us very bad! Sometimes I can not believe we are still in Netherland.
Try to imagine this. Is it nice feeling? I dont think so. This problem have everyday many Otto workers, and trust me, they are pissed off, a lot. I am very lucky, that I am one of those who have permanent working position, so I dont care too much of daily plan. Only on Friday and on Saturday night, when new plan for weekend is announced. This one is usually even later, the plan published at 21.30 for morning shift starting at 6 am is not uncommon. One of my experience was when I came back from swimming pool at 22.00 on Friday night and plan was right published. I found out that I am planned for mornign shift forced me to wake up at 4.30 am. Great experience, like in army, cause after swimming pool I was too hungry and tired, that I did not have any more food for next day. There was not any chance to get any food anywhere. There was nobody to asked or call, that I need to cancel this shift, cause was simply too late. Next morning I was even informed that I am the bus driver, so was quite hard to cancel my shift. Finally I went to work, stayed almost all day hungry, tired, annoyed to Otto and myself, that I rather did not refuse this work. Next day I felt really sick of this experience, both physically and mentally. So really great weekend, which I before planned to spent travelling with my friends!
When Otto misses the workers for weekend shifts why the managers dont pre alert those workers which they need earlier, at least via sms or call? Otto really treats us like stupid sheeps waiting in their stables for any kind of work. Do any of our Otto planning managers respect our free time, weekend or vacation?
Why Otto workers living private can get their working plan for all coming week previous Friday via sms or call, and we, workers living in Park, have to wait like idiots every evening for late plan? This is really not fair.

5. Accommodation
The last point I would like to mention here it concerns the living facilities which Otto provides us. Needless to say the monthly rent rate is quite high compare to prices of other properties nearby. Even the cost of rent in some very poor facilities in some Otto parks is the same as price in those good facilities. Anyway the price is quite high, and when I read your comment in Otto news that for upcoming year Otto has to charge us again more, I was angry. And when I read till the end when you first inform us, we will earn more money but after that the final calculation shows that we will be charged for health insurance 10 euro more, for rent 12 euro more and our salary will be only 7-10 euro higher, so in total about 10 15 euro minus vs. last year, I said to myself, thats enough. I will not stay here longer. To be poorer and poorer here, this is not Holland what I dreamt about before. There is no reason to stay here longer, when Otto regards us only with 7 euro per months more. And I am sure, when the minimal wage did not get higher by Dutchs low, Otto would keep paying to us the same hourly rates maybe forever. I have been working for Otto 17 months and my hourly rate has increased only by 11 cents! So my 4-weeks salary has increased by 16.5 euro since I have worked here. 17 months without any sick day, without any absence And Otto regards me for this with 16 euro more.
This fact is so poor and sad, that I do not want to write about this rather more.
Lets go back to rental cost. In one of your Otto news you appealed us to save electricity in Otto apartments. Of course, I agree, everybody should save electricity when is not necessary to use it. But let me give you one major reason why probably the use of electricity has increased rapidly. The problem is in heating. What I know and what my own experience is, in some houses is simply too cold to live, especially in winter. There have been many reported problems with heating in Laarbruch-Siedlung park. When the problem is not fixed immediately, what people can do? They simple buy some electric heater and try to get temperature in their houses higher with this. That I think is the main reason why the bill for electricity is then higher.
One example again. Last winter we stayed in our house in Laarbruch-Siedlung Park two whole weeks without any heating and even without hot water when the temperature outside was all the time minus 5-10 degrees! At the end of this two weeks period in our house was 11 degrees, whole day and night! We reported this problem everyday, we were always informed, that Otto was working on this and next day the problem will be fixed. This was told us everyday over two weeks. Of course, we had to heat the house with another electrical heater otherwise we would freeze to death. Two weeks without heating and hot water, really bad experience which I do not want to have any more.
I could continue more a more. There are many troubles made by Otto staff to us everyday. I could write big book about this. Maybe I will do it sometimes later.
This letter has been written only by me, but I am sure many people would write the same, and many people would sign under this. There are many educated smart people who work for otto, some of them with university degree with various kind of education subject, so please keep on mind this. We are not all stupid poor people who can be manipulated as Otto needs.
So, do you still think Otto is very successful company? Externally it probably is, but internally definately not. What happens internally in Otto everyday I really can not call as a success. I find for this only words like big mess, non-discipline, unfairness, and helplessness. You can call it how you like. But please, before you write new Otto news full with glory how Otto is successful again, think also more about internal things, if Otto is really so succesful and if we all really need read this again and again, when you dont want to share this success with us. Keep always on mind that you are succesful, because we are here and work here.

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