Resistance and Solidarity: Amazon workers demand a better deal this Prime Day
This Prime Day, scores of Amazon workers across Europe will be protesting and striking to win safer working conditions, living wages, and collective agreements with their unions at the e-giant’s warehouses. Amazon employees and supporters will be taking action in Germany, the UK, Spain, and Poland.
Warehouse workers in the United States will be walking off the job as well.
Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said:
“Amazon workers want change at the company. In recent weeks, we’ve seen employees challenge Amazon’s response to our climate crisis and condemn its unethical use of facial recognition technologies. Today, workers are demanding an end to Amazon’s brutal conditions and to its ongoing attack on their rights.
“Amazon’s incredible wealth and enormous global footprint has been built on the backs of its workers, and this employee uprising is calling for greater accountability and responsibility.”
Stuart Appelbaum, President of UNI Global Commerce and President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) in the United States, commented:
“Amazon needs to understand that human beings are not robots. By doubling Prime Day’s duration and halving the delivery time, the company is testing hundreds of thousands of workers’ physical limits as though they were trained triathletes. This is plain wrong.
“Operating at these speeds for this duration means Amazon needs to hire more workers, under more sustainable speeds that don’t put workers’ lives in jeopardy. Instead, we are seeing a callous indifference to worker safety.”
In Germany, ver.di strikes to demand that Amazon “stop discounting workers’ wages”
Hundreds of employees at seven locations in Germany, members of the union ver.di, are striking for at least two days starting Sunday night.
Under the slogan “Stop Discounting Workers’ Wages,” the strikers are demanding that the company enter into a collective agreement that puts working conditions and salaries on par with other companies in its sector.
Orhan Akman, federal secretary for ver.di-commerce, criticized the Seattle-based company, "While Amazon holds a giant Prime-Day bargain hunt, employees are deprived of a living wage.”
In the UK, the GMB holds nationwide protests
The UK’s GMB Union is staging protests “up and down the country” starting on June 15. The union has documented deplorable conditions in Amazon warehouses, particularly in its Rugeley facility, where the union will hold a massive demonstration on June 19.
National Officer with the GMB Mick Rix said, “Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos to know they are people – not robots. It is time that Jeff showed empathy with the very people that have helped to contribute to his vast and increasing personal fortune.”
Workers from Spain’s Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) will be joining the Rugeley action.
Spanish workers will demonstrate Madrid
Workers in Spain are planning a two-day demonstration outside of Amazon’s San Fernando de Henares warehouse, near Madrid. Workers here are demanding better pay and safer conditions inside their facility and nationwide.
Members of the CC.OO will then be joining the GMB in the UK on June 19 for a massive rally at the Rugeley facility.
Polish unions launch ongoing protests
Polish unions NSZZ Solidarity Union (Solidarność) and Workers’ Initiative (Inicjatywa Pracownicza) are launching an ongoing protest starting on July 15 and will continue until they have reached a collective agreement with the company.
The Polish workers describe punishing conditions and backbreaking work rates for low pay. They have tried on multiple occasions to negotiate a collective agreement with the company, but the company shut down attempts at negotiations earlier this month.