Even in time for the online retailer's Black Friday revelry, Amazon's warehouse staff across Europe went on strike or held protests today. According to UNI Global Union, workers are demanding better working conditions and wages and protesting against Amazon's refusal to negotiate with them.
Locations include Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. UNI tells me that more than 2,400 workers in Spain and Germany are on strike today, with hundreds more in other areas.
In the UK, the British union GMB says five different warehouses are holding protests. The group says it expects hundreds of employees to participate.
"The conditions that our Amazon members are working on are downright inhuman," GMB Secretary-General Tim Roache said in a statement. "They are breaking bones, being left unconscious and being taken in ambulances."
Workers in Spain, Italy and Germany planned strikes.
"Amazon has not made worker safety a priority," Fiorenzo Molinari, secretary of an Italian local trade union, said in a statement. "For us, it seems the company just pretends to care. Our warnings about unsafe conditions are often overlooked and our concerns about our jobs are avoided. "
Today #Black Friday it is a #BlackFridaySinAmazon: Start the #HuelgaAmazon in #Madrid, in struggle for the rights that the richest company in the world wants to snatch from its workforce pic.twitter.com/dWe3mUeAVh
– CCOO of Madrid (@COMOMadrid) November 23, 2018
In a statement, Amazon responded to union complaints.
"We are a fair and responsible employer. We believe in continuous improvement throughout our network and we maintain an open and direct dialogue with our associates, "the company said. "We have invested more than 27 billion euros and have created more than 75,000 permanent jobs across Europe since 2010. These are good jobs with highly competitive pay, full benefits and innovative training programs."
The statement added: "We provide safe and positive working conditions and encourage people to come by themselves by touring one of our call centers.
This is not the first time that workers in the European Amazon go on strike. On the first day of July, officials from Spain stopped working in mass. Workers at other facilities across Europe decided to join the strike as well. And last year, facilities in Germany and Italy went on strike during Black Friday as well.