Amazon workers prepare for Black Friday strikes

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Image source, Reuters

Amazon employees in 20 countries, including several EU members, are organizing protests and stoppages of work on Black Friday.

Amazon’s most busy day of the year is shopping-centric.

According to the Make Amazon Pay group, Amazon takes too much from customers and returns too little.

This coalition is made up of trade unions, labour groups and grassroots campaigns.

The UK includes:

  • GMB Union
  • Trades Union Congress
  • Momentum
  • Krieg on Want
  • International Transport Workers Federation
  • Labour Behind the Label

There are no unionized Amazon UK warehouses, therefore they cannot strike legally.

While many employees will work on that day, campaign groups including Amazon workers will stage protests against Amazon’s buildings at Coalville and Leicestershire, Coventry and Peterborough as well as its London headquarters.

Strikes are encouraged in other places.

Germany’s union Verdi, for instance, has called upon employees in major shipping hubs to go on strike starting Wednesday night.

A list of common demands, published by Make Amazon Pay, has been signed up by nearly 50 international organizations. It includes:

  • Raising warehouse worker’s pay, and increasing peak-time increments and hazard pay
  • “Stop worker surveillance” and enforce strict productivity targets
  • Extending sick leave, improving Covid-19 tracking/reporting
  • Stopping casual work and “union-busting” activities
  • Paying taxes without tax loopholes and tax havens

Mick Rix of the GMB Union stated that “This company, a pandemic profitseer, can afford better.” “It is time for Amazon to sit down with its workers’ union GMB, and make Amazon an excellent, safe workplace.

Amazon saw its profits triple in 2013 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This company was also accused of adopting an anti-union position in all its operations, especially in the US.

An historic push to unionize an Alabama workplace was defeated earlier in the year, but the US regulator was able to examine allegations that the company placed pressure on employees during voting.

  • Amazon offers £3,000 bonuses to attract staff
  • Amazon’s injuries are ‘80% more’ than those of its competitors
  • Amazon offers punctual staff £50 for turning up

Owen Espley of the War on Want campaign said, “Amazon’s growing power threatens communities and workers across the globe.

Amazon abuses its position in online shopping, cloud services and logistics to make it more profitable, which is lowering standards for all.

Amazon employees are under constant surveillance and treated as robots, despite their unsafe working conditions.

Amazon should pay fair wages, fair taxes and consider the effects on the earth.

Amazon didn’t respond to our request for comment regarding the UK actions.

However, representatives of Amazon have stated to US media that they already address many of the Make Amazon Pay concerns while acknowledging “not perfect” in their current state.


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