In the midst of the annual Amazon sale, thousands of workers have raised protests with regards to pay and other conditions at the online retailer.
As per reports of the Union in Germany, about 2000 workers reported to be on strike, while in the US, workers at Minnesota centre saw a six-hour stoppage. On the other hand, the UK saw week long protests to the condition.
Although Amazon states that it offers favorable employment opportunities, a statement by a picker in the Shakopee warehouse in Minnesota, stated that he picked an item about every eight seconds, 332 per hour for a 10 hour work day. “The speeds that we have to work are very physically and mentally exhausting, in some cases leading to injuries,” he said owning to the work conditions at the retail giant.
In connection to the protest he commented; “Basically we just want them to treat us with respect as human beings and not treat us like machines.” 300,000 in the US were employed under Amazon
In Germany, 20,000 people are employed by Amazon. As per a statement by labour union Verdi, 2000 workers were on strike at seven sites. A popular strike slogan among the workers was “no more discount on our incomes”.
In the UK, GMB union officials handed leaflets to workers notifying about upcoming protests at sites such as Swansea and Rugeley, in the West Midlands. GMB claimed that it had no intention of calling shoppers to boycott Amazon, but said customers could act.
“We’re not calling for economic damage for Amazon,” he said. “What we’re asking for is for people to be aware. Leave feed back on Amazon”.
Moreover, GMB’s national officer, Mick Rix said that Amazon workers across the globe wanted Jeff Bezos to know that people weren’t robots. The workers are asking for an independent voice and a safer workplace.
Founded by Jeff Bezos, the company made sales worth $235bn (£188bn) last year. The company has a global workforce of 630,000. As a response to the ongoing strikes, Amazon responded that it “provided great employment opportunities with excellent pay”.
In the UK, Amazon offered £9.50 per hour and had a work force of 29,500 people. Moreover according to a spokesperson Amazon was the “employer of choice for thousands of people across the UK”.