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Amazon faces Black Friday strikes by workers across Europe




The unions in Germany, Italy and France are demanding that the company pay its workers fairly and respect their right to join unions. The strikes have been called to coincide with Amazon’s annual Black Friday event, which kicks off a four-day shopping spree that culminates in Cyber ​​Monday.

The action is part of a larger global protest organized by a group called Make Amazon Pay. The coalition of unions, environmentalists and tax activists has called for protests 22 countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom.

The international coalition also demands that Amazon “pay its fair share of taxes and commit to real environmental sustainability.”

An Amazon spokesman said the groups represented a variety of interests, and while the company “was not perfect in any area,” it was taking its role and impact seriously.

“We are inventing and investing significantly in all of these areas, playing an important role in tackling climate change with Climate Pledge’s commitment to being zero carbon net by 2040, continuing to deliver competitive wages and great benefits , and inventing new ways to keep our employees safe and healthy in our network of operations, to name just a few, “the spokesman added.

Some of its workers are not convinced.

The German giant union Verdi organized a strike of warehouse workers coinciding with the launch in Berlin of “Amazon workers against surveillance”, a group protesting the company’s use of applications, manual scanners, tools of browser and cameras to monitor your staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week “. ”

“Working almost anywhere on Amazon is stressful and dangerous to health,” the group said in a statement on its website.

In Italy, workers are scheduled to block warehouses and trucks at all Amazon centers across the country, and thousands of drivers are expected to strike on Friday.

Warehouse workers are also on strike in France, even at a logistics center in Lille, in support of demands for wage increases and bonuses, and the end of mandatory overtime.

They told CNN that Amazon has asked employees to work all four Saturdays during December, in addition to their regular hours. For those overtime hours, they would get a bonus of 120 euros ($ 136) subject to certain conditions, the workers said.

It’s unclear how disturbing the strikes will be for Amazon, but this holiday shopping season is proving difficult for retailers trying to satisfy the strong. consumer demand in the face of supply chain disruptions and labor shortages and some goods.

Make Amazon Pay was launched a year ago after 50 organizations went on strike and protests in 16 countries around the world, the coalition said.

“Today’s actions show the scale of Amazon’s resistance to exploitation across all links in its abuse chain,” said Casper Gelderblom, the group’s coordinator.

“Workers across the supply chain are demanding what is legitimate from them when even Jeff Bezos admits his work has paid off for his recent trip to space,” he added.

– Xiaofei Xu and Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this article.