Sunday, 23 January, 2022

Amazon hit by strikes in Europe for Black Friday

Amazon employees in Spain, Germany and Great Britain went on strike Friday, November 23, the day of the “Black Friday” super sales, to demand better working conditions, the global online sales giant downplaying the scale of movement. The employees, many of whom follow the hashtag #Amazonwearenotrobots (Amazon we are not robots), had already carried out a major action in July during an Amazon promotional operation, dubbed “Prime day”.

Amazon has defended its social policy in all directions, claiming to have created more than 25,000 well-paying jobs in the UK and claiming to be “an employer as reliable as it is good” in Germany.

Spain, Germany, Great Britain

In Spain, the union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO, Workers’ Commissions) claimed that Amazon’s largest logistics center in Spain, which employs some 1,500 people in San Fernando de Henares (15 km east of Madrid), was paralyzed by the strike, the trucks entering and leaving it no longer. But the multinational maintains, in a statement, that “the majority of the employees of the morning shift worked and processed the orders”.

In Germany, the leading services union, Verdi, announced that the strike affected two sites in the middle of the day, Bad Hersfeld (in Hesse, in the center of the country) and Rheinberg (in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the ‘Where is). Employees demand a collective agreement. From Black Friday to Christmas, “there is a lot of overtime, which is paid much less than in companies with collective agreements,” said Silke Zimmer, Verdi manager for North Rhine-Westphalia. Westphalia.

“As the vast majority of employees continue to work as planned, customer orders are not affected by the strike,” replied Amazon in Germany. “Several of our employees have been with us for many years, which proves that we are as reliable an employer as a good one.”

Britain’s GMB union is planning protests by hundreds of Amazon employees at five warehouses across Britain. The union wants to denounce the “inhumane” working conditions, citing employees who do not have time to go to the toilet or a pregnant woman forced to work standing up.

“Open and direct dialogue”

Amazon instead maintains that working conditions are good and that these centers record 40% fewer accidents on average than other transport and storage companies in the country. In Spain, Workers’ Commissions accuses the group of imposing its working conditions on employees and calls for negotiations.

According to Ana Berceruelo, a member of CCOO, workers who fall ill must now wait three days before receiving their full salary and the breaks are now the responsibility of the employee, which requires them to work eight hours and half past eight instead of eight.

Amazon in Spain said it was banking on continuous improvement of its network, “which involves an open and direct dialogue” with its employees, to whom it provides “an attractive salary, a whole series of benefits and innovative training programs” .

As in the United Kingdom, the American giant invites everyone to be aware of the working conditions by visiting its logistics centers. New work stoppages are planned in Spain on Saturday as well as on December 7, 9, 15 and 30 and January 3 and 4.

(With AFP)