Amazon Workers Strike Over Pay Across Europe During Black Friday Trade

Over 200 Amazon workers across Europe including more than 1,000 at the Coventry warehouse in England, walked out in protest against the e-commerce giant’s working conditions and pay policies. The strikes, organized as part of the Make Amazon Pay global campaign by UNI Global Union, happened in more than 30 countries.

Amazon Workers Strike Over Pay Across Europe During Black Friday Trade

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“Make Amazon Pay,” a campaign coordinated by UNI Global Union, declared a day of strikes and protests on Black Friday, through to Cyber Monday. The protests took place in various countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.

In Germany, Amazon workers at five fulfillment centers initiated a 24-hour strike demanding a wage agreement, while in Italy and Spain, strikes targeted warehouses, and in France, activists aimed at disrupting Amazon’s parcel lockers.

In Germany Amazon’s second-largest market by sales, Amazon workers at five fulfillment centers in Bad Hersfeld, Dortmund, Koblenz, Leipzig, and Rheinberg initiated a 24-hour strike starting at midnight on Thursday.

The demand was clear, a collective wage agreement. However, an Amazon spokesperson in Germany defended the company’s practices, stating that workers receive fair wages, with a starting salary of more than 14 euros an hour, along with additional benefits.

The spokesperson assured customers that deliveries of Black Friday orders would remain reliable. In the UK over 1,000 amazon workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Coventry participated in the strike, one of the largest days of industrial disruption in the company’s history.

The GMB union, representing the striking workers, ongoing disputes over pay and working conditions. Amazon workers in Coventry have been engaged in a year long battle for better pay and working conditions, with the current strike addressing the demand for a pay increase to £15 ($18.69) per hour.

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Amazon UK countered, stating that the minimum starting pay is between £11.80 and £13 per hour, increasing to £12.30 to £13 per hour from April 2024.

In Italy the CGIL union called for a Black Friday strike at the Castel San Giovanni warehouse, while in Spain, the CCOO union urged Amazon warehouse and delivery workers to stage one hour strikes on each shift on Cyber Monday, the final day of Amazon’s ten-day sale.

The focus on Cyber Monday highlights the timing of the protests to coincide with the peak of the holiday shopping season.

In France the anti-globalization organization Attac mobilized activists to target Amazon’s parcel lockers. The plan involved plastering them with posters and ticker tape, causing disruptions for delivery workers and customers.

Attac views Black Friday as a celebration of overproduction and overconsumption and anticipated a protest compared to the previous year, with an estimated 100 Amazon lockers targeted.

While facing international strikes Amazon remained steadfast in its position, asserting that amazon workers are already paid fair wages and enjoy additional benefits.

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The company assured customers that the strikes would not disrupt Black Friday orders, addressing the reliability of its delivery services.

The spokesperson for Amazon in the UK reiterated the company’s commitment to review pay regularly, with plans to increase the minimum starting pay to £12.30 to £13 per hour by April 2024.

However, the striking amazon workers, such as Nick Henderson at the Coventry warehouse, expressed their demanding higher pay and improved working conditions. The chanting workers on the picket lines told the call for a pay rise to £15 per hour.

The campaign, “Make Amazon Pay,” sought to unite workers internationally in their demand for fair wages, improved working conditions, and the recognition of labor rights.

UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman addressed that the day of action was part of a movement to hold Amazon accountable and advocated for higher wages.

Amazon has maintained its popularity in Europe, outpacing rivals like Shein and Temu in terms of active users.

In October, Amazon’s app had 146 million active users in Europe, compared to 64 million for Shein and 51 million for Temu, according to data.ai.

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