Amazon is increasingly using robots to staff its warehouses and fulfilment centres, meaning Black Friday 2020 strikes and protests may be less effective than previous years
Amazon is increasingly using robots to staff its warehouses and fulfilment centres, meaning Black Friday 2020 strikes and protests may be less effective than previous years

Amazon Black Friday strikes and protests coordinated around the world

‘Amazon should be treating their workers with respect, not treating them like robots,’ trade union leader says

Anthony Cuthbertson@ADCuthbertson
Friday 27 November 2020 11:17
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Amazon workers across 15 countries are carrying out strikes and protests on Black Friday, calling for increased pay and improved working conditions.

The #MakeAmazonPay movement is taking place on one of the busiest days of the year for the online retail giant, and follows similar coordinated efforts in recent years.

Warehouse workers and social justice activists plan to join the action in Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, the Philippines, Spain, the UK and the US.

The largest strike action is expected to take place in Germany, where as many as 3,000 workers across six facilities plan to join protests.

Human rights groups and trade unions claim that Amazon workers have been forced to put themselves at increased personal risk during the coronavirus pandemic, with little in the way of compensation

At the same time, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has seen his net worth nearly double, cementing his place as the world’s richest person.

“The health and safety record at Amazon is appalling and the dangers from coronavirus have made it even worse,” said Mick Rix, national officer at UK trade union GMB.

“In the first few months of the pandemic, workers told us how bad the situation was inside: No social distancing; no hand sanitiser; no protective equipment. Workers have been living in fear of being infected by Covid-19.

"Enough is enough. Companies like Amazon should be treating their workers with respect, not treating them like robots."

Amazon has faced criticism during the Covid-19 pandemic

A statement from the organisers of #MakeAmazonPay, which was signed by 39 organisations, states: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion dollar corporation, with Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth. Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and only briefly received an increase in pay.”

The organisers called on Amazon to increase warehouse workers’ wages, give unions access to worksites, pay more corporation taxes, and commit to zero emissions by 2030.

Amazon responded by claiming the group’s assertions were “misleading” and motivated by self-interested groups.

A spokesperson said: “Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our people, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions and leading $15 minimum wage and great benefits, leading on climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, and paying more than $5 billion in taxes globally."

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