In a wave of strikes, thousands of Amazon workers in Germany will join their counterparts in Spain and Poland to demand better working conditions from the U.S. tech giant on a day that also marks a major sales promotion, Amazon's Prime Day, which is an annual event where the company offers discounts on many products.
In Spain, the demonstrators marched under the banner, 'Amazon En Lucha,' also the name of the group organizing the walkout at the company's fulfillment center just outside the Spanish capital of Madrid. The strike is expected to last until July 18 as employees also called for Amazon workers around several countries in Europe to go on strike. Some workers also wore masks of Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
"The message is clear - while the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers," said Stefanie Nutzenberger, Verdi's top official responsible for the retail sector, according to the Abs News.
Important to remember that Jeff Bezos has a personal net worth of 140 billion dollars. His fortune is growing by 10 billion dollars a month or 230k a minute. And, yet workers at fulfillment centers and warehouses sleep in cars, urinate in bottles. This is obscene. #HuelgaAmazon! pic.twitter.com/nZuqrjiJJK— Winifred (@WaywardWinifred) July 16, 2018
The Verdi services union called a one-day strike to back its demand for labor contracts which guarantee healthy working conditions at fulfillment centers run by the world's largest e-commerce company.
The one-day strike at six facilities in Germany coincides with Seattle-based Amazon's Prime Day promotion. Workers in Spain are out on a three-day strike, meanwhile, in Poland they are staging a work to rule, Verdi said.
Amazon said it expected only a fraction of its 12,000 workers in Germany to join the strike, and that there would be no impact on Prime Day deliveries. It also said Amazon fulfillment center jobs offered competitive pay and comprehensive benefits from the first day of employment. Permanent staff earn around US$14.31 an hour or more after two years.
"We believe Amazon's Fulfillment Center jobs are excellent jobs providing a great place to learn skills to start and further develop a career," the company said in comments emailed to Reuters.
After the United States, Germany is Amazon's second largest national market. Net sales have grown by at least 20 percent last year to US$17 billion, accounting for about 9.5 percent of the total, per the company's annual report.