black friday, protests

Thousands of Amazon warehouse employees in about 40 countries plan demonstrations and walkouts to align with Black Friday sales, one of the biggest days for online shopping.

Based on a report by Bloomberg, workers in the US, UK, India, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and throughout Europe have launched a movement called “Make Amazon Pay” to demand higher salaries and improved working conditions.

A worldwide labor alliance leads the effort with backing from environmental and civil society organizations.

“It’s time for the tech giant to cease their awful, unsafe practices immediately, respect the law and negotiate with the workers who want to make their jobs better,” said Christy Hoffman, one of the organizers and spokesperson of UNI Global Union.

Strained Relationship

There has been a long-running problem with employee relations at the e-commerce firm, in which charges of unfair labor practices, employee activity, and union efforts at several locations have plagued.

Earlier this year, in what was viewed as a historic occasion, warehouse employees in Staten Island, New York, chose to join a new union.

A representative for Amazon, David Nieberg, stated, “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.”

He mentioned the company’s goal to attain net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and that it continues to provide competitive pay and benefits.

Protests in the UK

According to Bloomberg, CGT and Ver.di unions in France and Germany, respectively, are leading coordinated strikes at 18 major warehouses to delay shipments in crucial European markets.

Protests by GMB union members in UK warehouses, including one in Coventry, are scheduled for this week.

Senior GMB organizer Amanda Gearing said Amazon employees in Coventry are overworked and underpaid, adding that hundreds would gather to demand a salary hike from £10.50 (around $13) an hour to £15 (around $18).

Employees who quit during a shift might forfeit the second half of a £500 incentive Amazon promised last month for UK warehouse workers. The GMB says tying compensation to attendance might be an illegal incentive not to strike.

Protests in Several Other Countries

Protests and demonstrations are planned in over ten US locations, as well as outside the New York City apartment building where Amazon founder Jeff Bezos resides.

Multiple protests will take place in India, while a newly formed union in Japan will demonstrate in front of the company’s Tokyo headquarters.

Amazon’s textile supply chain employees in Bangladesh will be holding a march in both Dhaka and Chittagong.

People in Dublin, Ireland, will assemble outside of Amazon’s headquarters to protest the company’s plans to build two new data centers in the city. It is just one example of the rallies that will concentrate on Amazon’s environmental and social impact.

Protesters will congregate outside Amazon’s new Cape Town headquarters, which are being built on sacred land.

Written by Trisha Kae Andrada

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