Amazon workers strike over working conditions & collective bargaining rights urging customers to boycott Prime Day sales
- workers at warehouses in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland engaged in strike
- concerns vary by country & include increase in hours, lack of health benefits, difficulties in establishing collective bargaining agreements
- Amazon denies allegations; comments provided
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Author: Stephen Armstrong, Wired
"Amazon Prime Day created a surge in health and safety complaints from exhausted workers", 24 July 2018
Amazon Prime Day broke records last week [...] but proved the most controversial deal day to date with strikes breaking out across Europe and health and safety complaints from Amazon UK workers soaring by 209 per cent, according to workplace digital campaigning platform Organise...
“These allegations are not accurate,” an Amazon spokesperson said... “To our knowledge, Organise doesn’t verify that respondents actually work for the company they claim to work for...", add[ing] that Amazon has several ways for employees to provide anonymous feedback and that it “simply false” to say that complaints spiked...
[F]ull-time Amazon employees earn £8.35 an hour after their first two years. Employees, the Amazon spokesperson said, are offered private medical insurance, life assurance, and income protection, as well as a company pension plan.
These rights would not be extended to the 5,000 seasonal workers Amazon hired to cover the surge in business around Prime Day...
“Ensuring the safety of associates is our number one priority,” Amazon’s spokesperson said. “...We don’t recognise these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”
The debate over Amazon’s workplace conditions may be decided in court.
Author: Washington Post
16 July 2018
...Nearly 1,800 Amazon workers in Spain went on strike...during Prime Day, the company’s biggest sales day of the year, according to labor activists. Thousands more Amazon employees in Germany are expected to walk off the job...the second day of the 36-hour sale, for similar reasons. The unions that represent the warehouse workers, Comisiones Obreras and Verdi services union, say they are calling for better working conditions, pay and health benefits...
This week’s labor protests underscore a growing challenge for Amazon: It is facing increased scrutiny over its hiring and labor practices at a time when it is looking to add thousands of new warehouse workers and growing at breakneck speed.
Amazon and its billionaire founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, have a long history of thwarting unionization efforts in the United States...
But in Europe, where unionization is more widespread, labor unions have been on the front lines of calling for workers' rights at the company’s warehouse facilities, where physical demands can be grueling and temperatures can reach extremes...
...A spokeswoman for the Seattle-based giant said it was committed to providing workers with “positive working conditions.”...
Author: Arjun Kapal, CNBC
Amazon workers in Spain and Germany went on strike Monday to protest working conditions at the e-commerce giant's warehouses, just as its massive Prime Day sales kick off... Their specific grievances include an increase in working hours, the elimination of bonuses and lack of protection against illnesses... An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC that it is a "fair and responsible" employer... The U.S. company's warehouse conditions have come under scrutiny in the past few years. An investigation by the U.K.'s Mirror newspaper outlined how workers had timed toilet breaks and strict targets to meet with many falling asleep on the warehouse floor. A British union found out via a Freedom of Information request, that ambulances have been called out 600 times to Amazon's U.K. warehouses in the past three years. At the time, Amazon said that it was “simply not correct to suggest that we have unsafe working conditions based on this data or on unsubstantiated anecdotes."
Europe: Amazon workers to strike over working conditions & collective bargaining rights; co refutes allegations
Author: John Bonazzo, The Observer
Amazon’s European workforce is [...] taking action during the site’s biggest week of the year...
The strike is calling for “health and decent jobs,” along with benefits for all Amazon employees. They claim their “struggles against the abuses” of Amazon have gone ignored for too long.
Each nation has a particular grievance against Jeff Bezos’ behemoth.
- Polish workers say an anti-strike law has made it impossible to negotiate better salaries.
- German employees have been fighting for a collective bargaining agreementfor two years.
- In Italy, Amazon routinely hires contract workers who aren’t required to have benefits.
- Amazon’s Spanish leaders unilaterally imposed working conditions when a previous collective bargaining agreement expired.
- England and France have imposed demanding measures on time and efficiency, meaning workers have to process 300 items an hour and pee in bottles. Workers were also penalized for taking sick days and time off during pregnancies...
[W]orkers write: "...Only with a joint action at a European level will workers organize in those places where there is no union representation yet.”
”We don’t recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings,” an Amazon spokesperson told Observer...