Amazon workers across Europe went on strike and protested against the company’s working conditions and pay practices on Black Friday, prompting disruption in various countries.
Background of the Protests
On Black Friday, Amazon workers in Europe staged strikes and protests against the e-commerce giant’s working conditions. The ‘Make Amazon Pay’ campaign organized by the UNI Global Union planned protests in over 30 countries from Black Friday through to Monday, targeting one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.
Strike Actions in Germany
In Germany, around 250 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Leipzig and 500 workers in Rheinberg went on strike, representing a significant percentage of the workforce in each location. The strikes were organized by trade union Verdi to demand a collective wage agreement. However, Amazon stated that only a small number of workers participated and emphasized that their workers are paid fair wages, with a starting salary of more than 14 euros per hour.
Protests in the United Kingdom
In Coventry, England, more than 200 workers at Amazon’s warehouse participated in strikes, citing ongoing disputes over pay. The workers were advocating for higher pay and better working conditions, with chants demanding a pay raise to 15 pounds per hour. Amazon UK spokesperson clarified that the minimum starting pay varies by location, with plans to increase it from April 2024.
Conflicting Reports in Italy and Spain
In Italy, there were conflicting reports on strike participation, with the trade union claiming significant worker turnout while Amazon disputed the extent of the strikes. In Spain, the union called for one-hour strikes on each shift on ‘Cyber Monday’, the final day of Amazon’s ten-day sale.
Protests in France
In France, Amazon’s parcel lockers were targeted by the Attac organization, which labeled Black Friday as a ‘celebration of overproduction and overconsumption’. They anticipated a wider protest this year compared to the previous one, with the aim of disrupting Amazon’s operations.
Impact on Amazon’s Popularity in Europe
Despite the protests, Amazon has maintained its popularity in Europe, even as competitors like Shein and Temu have experienced rapid growth. According to data.ai, Amazon’s app had 146 million active users in Europe in October, compared to 64 million for Shein and 51 million for Temu.