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Black Friday: Amazon workers protest poor warehouse working conditions



Amazon Black Friday protest Milton Keynes
outside Amazon’s warehouse in Milton Keynes,

Leon Neal/Getty

  • Thousands of Amazon staff across Europe are striking
    and protesting on Black Friday in anger at the company’s
    warehouse working conditions.
  • Strikes are taking place across Amazon sites in Italy,
    Spain, Germany, and France. Italian press reported managers
    having to pack boxes to meet demand.
  • In the UK, the GMB trade union and off-shift Amazon
    workers are demonstrating outside warehouses.
  • UK politicians voiced their support for the protest,
    with the deputy leader of the opposition calling on Amazon
    management to listen to staff concerns.
  • An Amazon spokesman said: “All of our sites are safe
    places to work and reports to the contrary are simply

Thousands of Amazon staff across Europe are protesting on Black
Friday over how the company treats its warehouse workers.

A coalition of unions across Europe coordinated the action, and
the British trade union GMB published a video of staff telling
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos “we are not robots” in five different

In Italy, Spain, Germany, and France, workers are striking for 24
hours or more.
Italian publication Corriere Della Sera
reported that
managers were having to step in and package items to deal with

UNI Global, the trade union helping coordinate the walkout, said
roughly 2,400 staff are on strike in Europe, but people on the
ground are reporting higher numbers of protestors. 

Amazon Germany told Reuters that
620 employees participated in the strike
across two of its
warehouses, while German union Verdi told Business Insider that
1,000 workers are walking out.

In Spain, unions said 1,600 employees have downed tools for the

Madrid Amazon Black Friday protest
Amazon protestor in Madrid.

de Madrid

In the UK, protestors, including off-shift Amazon workers,
started demonstrating outside company warehouses in the early
hours of the morning.

A GMB spokesman
told Business Insider on Thursday
that the purpose of the UK
protests was not to disrupt Amazon’s Black Friday sales but to
raise awareness. “All we want is to get Amazon around the table,”
he said.

In a press release sent to Business Insider, the GMB said it was
protesting “inhuman conditions” at the warehouses. It cited
figures from a Freedom of Information request, showing a single
Amazon warehouse in Britain had called ambulances to the site 115
times over a three-year period.

Read more:

Amazon is paying people to tweet nice things about warehouse
working conditions after horror stories of staff peeing in

The protests garnered support from UK politicians. Tom Watson,
the deputy leader of the Labour party, tweeted a video calling
for Amazon UK management to come to the table. Shadow Digital
Minister Liam Byrne also voiced his support for the protest.

“Your employees need better conditions and better recognition,”
Watson said.

Amazon said it had nothing to add to a statement issued ahead of
the protest on Thursday. A spokesman said:

“All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the
contrary are simply wrong. According to the UK Government’s
Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40% fewer injuries
on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in
the UK.

“We encourage everyone to compare our pay, benefits, and working
conditions to others and come see for yourself on one of the
public tours we offer every day at our centers across the UK.”

, INSIDER’s Associate Translation Editor, also
contributed to this report.

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