Amazon workers in several European nations have accused the company of making them work long hours for low pay. Some of these workers have even gone out on strike, and many did over the Black Friday holiday. Their primary case against the e-commerce company is that it says Amazon treats them like robots, and not workers.
These strikes create problems for Amazon as it tries to get merchandise to shoppers on its promised schedule. It could also drive people to other retailers. In turn, these could threaten Amazon’s revenue in Europe
A tweet England’s GMB Union read:
These amazon workers from around the globe have come together with one message for Jeff Bezos. We are not robots, treat us with dignity and respect. Share their message far and wide #AmazonWeAreNotRobots. The tweet Is accompanied by several videos of worker statements.
Another tweet covered Amazon’s safety record, and was accompanied by a video of an ambulance leaving an Amazon warehouse:
We’re staging #BlackFriday protests across the UK in anger at the awful conditions people work under at @Amazon warehouses. Workers are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances. Make sure people see this. Hit retweet #AmazonWeAreNotRobots
In Germany the strike was organized by the ver.di workers union. An Amazon warehouse in Spain was also hit by a strike.
This is not the first time Amazon Europe workers have staged strikes for better pay and improved factory safety. There was a series of strikes on Prime Day, which fell on July 17, which is Amazon’s huge push to add subscribers to it membership service and to get current Prime members to buy more items. There were similar strikes on November 23 of last year as the holiday sales period started
Amazon has had similar problems in the U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a bill to make Amazon repay any government assistance given to underpaid Amazon workers. This caused Amazon to raise minimum wages for all its U.S. workers to at least $15 an hour, However, long time workers said Amazon took away bonuses as part of the plan
Amazon will need to balance the cost of higher wages in Europe with the profit margin these would erode. And, there is also the issue of public perception of its labor practices, which might make some customers shop elsewhere
Amazon workers have decided to hit the company when its sales are most vulnerable. Based on their actions on Prime Day and their Black Friday walkout, the problem will continue to exist.