Amazon employees across more than 30 countries planned demonstrations and strikes on Black Friday to protest what they say are unacceptable working conditions.
What You Need To Know
- Amazon employees across more than 30 countries planned demonstrations and strikes on Black Friday to protest what they say are unacceptable working conditions
- Demonstrations and strikes were planned in the several U.S. states as well as Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and several other countries
- The employees' grievances against Amazon include falling wages amid high inflation, the close monitoring of workers with unreasonable productivity targets, high injury rates and a poor environmental record
- An Amazon spokesman insisted that "we do take our role and our impact very seriously" on issues such as the environment, wages and employee safety
Make Amazon Pay, a coalition of dozens of wide-ranging organizations, is behind the protests.
Demonstrations and strikes were planned in the several U.S. states as well as Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and several other countries. Some actions were also planned for Cyber Monday next week.
Reuters reported that demonstrations were held Friday in nine of Amazon’s 20 warehouses in Germany and that unions called for strikes in the e-commerce giant’s eight French warehouses. However, Amazon told Reuters the vast majority of its employees in Germany were working as normal and that there had been no sign of disruption in France.
UNI Global Union, one of the groups leading the Make Amazon Pay initiative, posted images on Twitter of demonstrations in Brazil and Belgium, while The Associated Press snapped photos from a protest in India.
American demonstrations were scheduled in Alabama; Florida; Georgia; Massachusetts; Michigan; Missouri; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; and Washington state.
An essay in The Wire in India written by representatives of UNI and the group IT for Change laid out a list of grievances against Amazon, including falling wages amid high inflation, the close monitoring of workers with unreasonable productivity targets, high injury rates, lack of break time, a poor environmental record and retaliation against those who raise concerns.
“To make the exploitative machine halt, we must strike all together, everywhere, all at once,” the essay said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to an email from Spectrum News seeking comment about the planned demonstrations. A spokesman for the company told Bloomberg News: “While we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing on these important matters you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously.”
The spokesman, David Nieberg, pointed to the company’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and added that Amazon is “continuing to offer competitive wages and great benefits, and inventing new ways to keep our employees safe and healthy.”
In April, Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, voted to become the first group to unionize at one of the company’s U.S. facilities.
The New York Times reported last week that Amazon planned to lay off about 10,000 employees in corporate and technology jobs.