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Amazon hit by strikes, protests across Europe during Black Friday

The logo of Amazon is seen at the Viva Technology conference at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 15, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
The logo of Amazon is seen at the Viva Technology conference at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 15, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

On Friday, one of the year’s busiest shopping days, Amazon (AMZN.O.) employees went on strike in numerous locations throughout Europe. The strike occurred as demonstrations against the working conditions of the American e-commerce giant increased in intensity on one of the year’s busiest shopping days.

The UNI Global Union, which is in charge of organizing the “Make Amazon Pay” campaign, has announced that strikes and protests will take place in over thirty nations starting on Black Friday, which is the day following the American Thanksgiving holiday and is a day when many businesses lower their prices to boost sales, and continuing through Monday.

Black Friday was traditionally renowned for the crowds queuing up at large-format retailers in the United States. However, it has progressively moved online and worldwide in recent years. Amazon has been a major contributor to this shift since the company is advertising ten days of holiday deals this year, beginning on November 17 and ending on November 27.

The trade union Verdi reported that around 250 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Leipzig went on strike on Friday, which accounts for almost 20% of the workforce. In addition, 500 workers went on strike at a warehouse in Rheinberg, which accounts for roughly 40% of workers. Germany was Amazon’s second-biggest market in terms of sales last year.

The union said a strike for a collective pay agreement had begun at midnight on Thursday across all five fulfillment centers nationwide. The walkout is scheduled to last for 24 hours.

A spokeswoman for Amazon in Germany stated that a few employees participated in the walkout and are paid fairly, with beginning salaries of more than 14 euros ($15.27) an hour. The representative stated that there would be no issues with the dependability or timeliness of Black Friday delivery.

Over two hundred employees at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry, England, went on strike on Friday due to a protracted disagreement over wages. The conflict has been going on for quite some time.

Nick Henderson, a worker at the Coventry warehouse, which serves as a logistical center for Amazon to process items to ship to other warehouses, said he was striking for more pay and better working conditions. The Coventry warehouse is used to deliver products to other warehouses.

The striking workers repeatedly repeated their demand for an increase in hourly wage to 15 pounds ($18.69) again and again.

A spokesman for Amazon UK stated that the minimum starting salary ranges from 11.80 pounds to 13 pounds per hour, depending on region, and that this range would increase to 12.30 pounds to 13 pounds per hour beginning in April 2024. Amazon has stated that the strike will not result in any disruptions.

There were conflicting reports on the number of people participating in strikes in Italy. According to the trade union CGIL, over sixty percent of workers at the Amazon warehouse in Castel San Giovanni went on strike on Friday. However, Amazon stated that more than eighty-six percent of staff showed up for work and that operations have not been disrupted.

On “Cyber Monday,” the final day of Amazon’s ten-day sale, the Spanish union CCOO called for Amazon warehouse and delivery workers to hold a one-hour walkout during each shift. “Cyber Monday” was also the name of the day.

Many customers in France use Amazon’s parcel lockers, which are located in train stations, supermarket parking lots, and street corners, to receive orders.

According to the anti-globalization organization Attac, which coordinated the demonstration and plastered posters and ticker tape on lockers around France, the protest was held in Paris and other towns in France.

Attac, which describes Black Friday as a “celebration of overproduction and overconsumption,” stated that it anticipates the protest to be larger than the previous year. According to Attac’s estimations, one hundred Amazon lockers were targeted across France during the previous year’s demonstration.

Even though its competitors, Shein and Temu, have experienced significant expansion, Amazon continues to enjoy significant popularity in Europe. According to data.ai, Amazon’s mobile application had 146 million active users in Europe during October. This figure compares to 64 million for Shein and 51 million for Temu.

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