Amazon workers in 20 countries, including the US, UK and several in the EU, are planning protests and work stoppages on Black Friday.
Shopping day is one of the busiest of all year on Amazon.
The Make Amazon Pay group says: “Amazon takes too much and returns too little.”
It is supported by a coalition of trade union groups, unions, grassroots campaigns and non-profit organizations in individual countries.
In the UK, this includes:
- GMB Union
- Trade Union Congress
- War on desire
- Federation of International Transport Workers
- I work behind the label
No Amazon warehouse in the UK is unionized, so legally they can’t go on strike.
Many employees will work during the day, but campaign groups that include Amazon workers will organize protests at Amazon’s buildings in Coalville, Leicestershire, Coventry, Peterborough and its London office.
But elsewhere strikes are encouraged.
In Germany, for example, the the Verdi union has invited the employees of the main maritime centers to strike, starting Wednesday evening.
Around the world, nearly 50 organizations have joined a list of “common requests” published by the Make Amazon Pay coalition, which includes:
- increase warehouse workers pay and add risk pay and peak hour increases
- stop worker “surveillance” and strict productivity targets
- extend sick leave and improve Covid-19 monitoring and reporting
- ending casual work status and “trade union confrontation” activities
- pay taxes without using loopholes or tax havens
“This company is a pandemic profiteer who can afford to do better,” said Mick Rix, of GMB Union. “It’s time for Amazon to sit down with the GMB workers union and make Amazon a great and safe workplace.”
Amazon reported a tripling in profits earlier this year, attributed to its success during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company has also been accused of taking an anti-union stance in its operations, particularly in the United States.
A historic push to unionize a job in Bessemer, Alabama failed earlier this year, but was scrutinized by the U.S. regulator for allegations that the company had lobbied employees during the vote.
- Amazon offers £ 3,000 bonus to attract staff
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Owen Espley, of the War on Want campaign group, said, “Amazon’s growing power is a threat to communities and workers around the world.
“Amazon is abusing its dominance in online retail, cloud services and logistics to create unfair competition that is lowering standards for all.
“Amazon workers face unsafe conditions, constant surveillance and are treated like robots.
“It is time for Amazon to pay fair wages, fair taxes and its impact on the planet.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the UK action.
But its representatives told the US media that it is already addressing many of the concerns expressed by the Make Amazon Pay group, while admitting that things “aren’t perfect” as they are.
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