Amazon employees in Germany and the UK went on strike demanding better pay.
Amazon was hit by strikes at various locations in Britain
and Germany during the annual “Black Friday” shopping extravaganza as
workers demand higher wages and better working conditions.
More than 1 000 workers went on strike at an Amazon hub in
Coventry, England, which employs 2 300 people and supplies other warehouses,
said Stuart Richards, spokesperson for the GMB union.
In Germany, the industrial action called by Union Verdi
began in the night to Friday, affecting five out of the US e-commerce giant’s
20 logistic sites in Europe’s biggest economy.
Amazon said the strikes in the UK and Germany would have no
impact on customers.
UNI Global Union said Amazon would face strikes and protests
in more than 30 countries around the world, including the United States, as
part of a “Make Amazon Pay” campaign.
“Workers know that it doesn’t matter what country
you’re in or what your job title is. We are all united in the fight for higher
wages, an end to unreasonable quotas and a voice on the job,” said Christy
Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union.
That’s what workers in Coventry are striking for and that is why workers around the world are standing up to Make Amazon Pay.
Held the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, “Black
Friday” is increasingly copied in Europe and beyond, with stores offering
big discounts to kick off the holiday gift-giving season.
In Britain, the GMB union said Amazon has refused to talk to
“The pressure GMB members have put on the company has
led to Amazon offering pay rises across the board but what they offer is still
a long way short of what workers want,” Richards said.
Workers want their pay to rise from 12 euros per hour
currently to 15 euros per hour.
An Amazon UK spokesman said the company regularly reviews
its pay “to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits.”
He said starting pay in the UK will rise to between 12.30 euros and 13 euros per hour depending on the location, from April – a 20-percent increase
over two years and 50 percent since 2018.
In Germany, Amazon said workers already had a “fair
wage and good additional benefits.”
Starting wages are at 14 euros and above per hour, the
company said, higher than Germany’s minimum wage of 12 euros.
But Verdi is pushing for the company to recognise the
regional collective agreements of the retail and mail order sector.