Sunday, February 25, 2024

Amazon protests in Europe target warehouses, lockers on busy Black Friday

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company's logistics centre in Boves, France, October 6, 2021 REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company’s logistics centre in Boves, France, October 6, 2021 REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Workers and activists across Europe plan demonstrations against U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon on November 24, aiming to disrupt its warehouses and prevent merchandise from reaching Amazon parcel lockers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

On Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, many retailers slash prices to boost sales. Originally known for crowds lining up at big-box stores in the U.S., the event has increasingly moved online and gone global, fuelled in part by Amazon, which advertises ten days of holiday discounts this year from November 17 to November 27.

In Germany, Amazon’s second-biggest market by sales in 2022, workers at five fulfilment centres in Bad Hersfeld, Dortmund, Koblenz, Leipzig, and Rheinberg, will go on strike for 24 hours from midnight on Thursday to demand a collective wage agreement, trade union Verdi said.

An Amazon spokesperson in Germany said workers are paid fair wages, with a starting salary of more than 14 euros ($15.27) an hour, and have additional benefits, adding that deliveries of Black Friday orders will be reliable and timely. [$1 = 0.9168 euros]

More than 1,000 workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Coventry, England, will strike on Friday, according to trade union GMB, as part of a long-running dispute over pay. Trade unionists are also organising a demonstration at Amazon’s UK headquarters in London. An Amazon U.K. spokesperson said the strike would not cause any disruption.

Amazon’s parcel lockers are also being targeted. Many Amazon shoppers use its lockers, which are located in train stations, supermarket car parks, and street corners, to receive their orders.

In France, anti-globalisation organisation Attac is encouraging activists to plaster them with posters and ticker tape, potentially blocking delivery workers and customers from being able to open them.

Attac, which calls Black Friday a “celebration of overproduction and overconsumption”, said it expects the protest to be wider than last year, when it estimates 100 Amazon lockers across France were targeted.

Italian trade union CGIL called for a Black Friday strike at the Castel San Giovanni warehouse, while Spanish union CCOO called for Amazon warehouse and delivery workers to stage a one-hour strike on each shift on “Cyber Monday”, the last day of Amazon’s ten-day sale.

“Make Amazon Pay”, a global campaign coordinated by UNI Global Union, said strikes and protests would take place in more than 30 countries from Black Friday through to Monday.

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