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27 Nov 2023

Black Friday: Amazon faces strikes & protests in over 30 countries, as workers demand changes in wages, taxes & the right to unionize

Amazon.co.uk employee sorts through books and other retail goods at their facility in Milton Keynes, England.

For the fourth year in a row, Amazon workers initiated strikes on Black Friday, aiming to interfere with the busiest shopping day of the year. The day of action was organised by Make Amazon Pay, an international coalition of over 80 unions, civil society organisations, environmental groups and tax watchdogs, which demands "that Amazon pays its workers fairly and respects their right to join unions, pays its fair share of taxes and commits to real environmental sustainability".

From the warehouses in Coventry to the factories of Dhaka, this Global Day of Action is more than a protest. It is a worldwide declaration that this age of abuse must end. Amazon’s globe-spanning empire, which exploits workers, our communities and our planet, now faces a growing globe-spanning movement to Make Amazon Pay.
Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla, co-General Coordinator of the Progressive International

In the U.S., U.K. Italy, Spain and Germany, warehouse workers and drivers went on a strike demanding better working conditions and higher wages. In Coventry, where workers were the first of Amazon's employees in the UK to strike when they began industrial action in January, striking workers were joined by trade unionists from US and Europe. In Germany, activists launched a campaign against Amazon saying its business model was linked to lack of health and safety precautions and low wages paid by subcontractors.

In Bangladesh, members of the garment workers union Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation took to the streets and raised demands including the right to freedom of association and that Amazon signs the Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Amazon rejected the allegations made by the Make Amazon Pay coalition saying: "[A] vast majority of these allegations are false or misinformed. The fact is Amazon has created millions of good jobs, while helping create and support hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world. We offer great pay and benefits for our employees with great career opportunities, and provide a modern and safe working environment for all. We continue to invest in the countries and communities where we operate, and we’re proud to be the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. That’s part of our drive to be net zero carbon by 2040, with billions already invested in packaging reduction, clean energy and electric vehicles."