Amazon warehouse workers in the UK and 40 other countries are set to strike and stage protests to coincide with Black Friday sales, one of the company’s biggest shopping days of the year.
Employees in dozens of countries, from Japan and Australia to India, the US and across Europe, are calling for better pay and conditions in a campaign called Make Amazon Pay.
In the UK, hundreds of GMB union members are staging strikes or protests at a number of Amazon warehouses, including one outside a fulfillment center in Coventry.
“We’re here today to tell Amazon [that] “If you want to keep your empire going, talk to GMB to improve workers’ wages and conditions,” said Amanda Gering, a senior organizer at GMB. “Amazon workers are overworked, underpaid and have had enough.”
Profits at Amazon Services UK, the group’s warehouse and logistics operations, which is believed to employ more than half of the company’s UK workforce of nearly 75,000 people, rose 60% to £204m, with revenue growing just over for the quarter to reach more than 6 billion pounds last year.
Workers are calling for a rise in wages from £10.50 to £15 an hour as the cost of living crisis hits family budgets.
However, getting in on the action in the UK could mean protesters miss out on the second part of the £500 bonus Amazon has agreed to for tens of thousands of frontline workers.
Last month, Amazon UK said awarding the second part of the payment was dependent on employees not having an “unauthorized absence” between November 22 and Christmas Eve.
GMB argued that tying payments to employees’ attendance could be considered an illegal move to breach the strike.
In Dublin, Extinction Rebellion held a protest outside Amazon offices starting at 1pm.
An Amazon spokesperson said, “These groups represent a wide variety of interests, and while we’re not perfect in any area, if you look objectively at what Amazon is doing on these important matters, you’ll see that we take our part and our impact very seriously.”
“We are innovating and investing significantly in all of these areas, playing a significant role in tackling climate change while adhering to the climate pledge to be net zero carbon by 2040, continuing to offer competitive wages and great benefits, and innovating new ways to keep our people safe and healthy in our network of operations.” , For example, but not limited “.
In London, security guards and CCTV operators at Harrods also went on strike on Black Friday, including staging a protest outside the luxury department store Knightsbridge, the first of 12 days of work over the festive period.
More than 50 employees are taking part in the protests, which are scheduled for every weekend in December and include Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, over an offer of a 7% payout they see as a “cut” as inflation soars to more than 11%.
Last month, Harrods, which is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, reported an annual profit of £51m, more than doubling its managing director’s salary to £2.3m, and revealed it had raised nearly £6m in government support under the Act. Rent covid. Scheme.
“Harrods and its owners can pay these workers a raise that reflects the higher cost of living,” said Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite.
Meanwhile, British Hospitality said a series of planned railway strikes in the run-up to Christmas would cost UK restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars £1.5 billion, and called on the government to bring all partners to the negotiating table to try to find a solution.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Railroad and Maritime Workers, said the strikes would go ahead after a first meeting with Transportation Secretary Mark Harper to try to resolve the dispute on Thursday.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKH Hospitality, said the disruption and financial cost of the strikes would see Christmas lost again on the scale of last year’s Covid-changing Omicron impact.
“This disruption will devastate the hospitality business during the busiest time of the year and will once again force the public to cancel and rearrange plans,” she said. “The impact of the rail strikes this year has been devastating and widespread, but this will pale in comparison to what we will see as a result of the strikes coming in December.”