Scores of Amazon warehouse workers across several European countries have decided to go on strike. Workers have cited ‘inhuman working condition’ as the main reason for this strike. They allege that the world’s biggest online retail company is treating them like ‘robots’ and not humans. While any kind of strike is potentially a bad news for a big company like Amazon, this strike is more bad news given that it has come at a critical period of ‘Black Friday’ – one of the biggest annual online shopping days of the year.
It seems that workers have deliberately timed the strike on ‘Black Friday’ in a desperate bid to make their strike successful.
According to reports, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers in Germany, Spain, Italy, England and France have joined the ongoing strike. Although there is no confirmation about the exact numbers, reports claim that nearly 600 workers in Germany, 500 workers in UK and 90% of workers at a logistic depot near Madrid have joined the protest.
GMB Trade Union, a trade union body based in U.K, has come out with a public statement about working conditions of Amazon workers. Tim Roache, the GMB’s general secretary, said “The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman. They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.”
Meanwhile, workers have also resorted to social media in order to popularize their strike. Facebook and Twitter is replete with images with Amazon workers holding placards that read “Jeff Bezos, you’re the richest man. You have the wealth and ability to make sure your workers are treated with respect.”
Amazon, on other hand, is doing its best to downplay these strikes. The online retail giant claims that the online demonstration across Europe is not having any impact on its Black Friday sales. It has likewise disputed the number of workers on strike as has been claimed by several unions. The company said that most of its fulfillment and warehouse centers across Europe are working in almost full capacity.
This year Black Friday is predicated to rake nearly $6.4 Bn in online sales and Amazon is certainly expected to have the biggest share in this billion dollar sale. However, it would be very hard for the Seattle based company to overlook that this year’s Black Friday has been marred with too many controversies.
Barely two days back reports had emerged that Amazon had mistakenly leaked the names and email addresses of thousands of customers due to technical error.