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  • To mark Black Friday, GMB protested outside Amazon sites across the U.K. to highlight the appalling conditions workers face.

    To mark Black Friday, GMB protested outside Amazon sites across the U.K. to highlight the appalling conditions workers face. | Photo: GMB

Published 30 November 2019

"Why not spend the money making their warehouses less dangerous places to work? Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos to know they are people—not robots."

The demonstrations against ‘Black Friday’ multiplied in several countries Friday to denounce consumption and its climatic consequences, with strikes in Germany, United Kingdom, France and others focusing their complaint against the Amazon company.

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Labor rights activists and climate campaigners across Europe used the occasion of 'Black Friday,' the busiest shopping day of the year, to call attention to and protest Amazon's "appalling" working conditions, paltry benefits, and destructive environmental practices.

"Workers are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious, and being taken away in ambulances," said the National Officer with the GMB Union, Mick Rix, which organized demonstrations at Amazon warehouses across the U.K.

"Amazon has spent a fortune on fluffy adverts saying what a great place it is to work," Rix said, adding that "why not spend the money making their warehouses less dangerous places to work? Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos to know they are people—not robots."

In Germany, hundreds of Amazon employees took advantage of Black Friday to draw attention to their working conditions, according to the Verdi union, which organized a strike that, in principle, will last until Tuesday.

The union, which demands a collective agreement that guarantees "a decent salary and quality and healthy jobs," accuses Amazon of "depriving staff of their fundamental rights" and keeping the workforce under "extreme pressure," causing employees to become ill.  

About this, the U.K. GMB Union also said that Amazon employees reported that they were denied restroom breaks, penalized for taking sick days, and forced to work at a dangerous pace to meet productivity goals.

For his part, the Director of Greenpeace France Jean-François Julliard during the demonstration at the headquarters of Amazon in Paris said that "today Amazon has the same greenhouse gas emissions as a state."

Protests against the big company also took place in other parts of the world such as Austria, Tokyo, New Delhi, and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, Greenpeace displayed a banner on a facade under construction on the Gran Via, the great commercial avenue of the Spanish capital. Just a few days before the COP25 climate summit begins in the city, the NGO said "Consumerism = Climate crisis."

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