Hundreds of Amazon employees are working with the British trade union GMB and planning to gather outside five of the website’s fulfillment centers on Friday. Meanwhile, in Italy and Spain, a 24-hour strike is planned.
.@GMB_union is organising 5 protests at Amazon warehouses this Friday. They’re at Rugeley, Swansea, Peterborough, Milton Keynes & Warrington. Please help spread the word and show your support! Contact details for regional organisers in the press release: t.co/hIMw1qxywF pic.twitter.com/kPMizQaLNK
— Neil Foster (@NeilFosterGMB) November 21, 2018
The biggest of the UK demonstrations is arranged for Rugeley, near Birmingham, where more than 100 workers and GMB members are expected to show up. The UK’s shadow work and pensions minister, Jack Dromey, is also expected to speak at a rally following the protest.
GMB spokesman Tim Roache told Business Insider that the workers were not trying to disrupt Black Friday sales, but simply attempting to raise awareness about the “frankly inhuman” working conditions. The goal, he said is to “get Amazon around the table” for workers’ voices to be heard.
People are “breaking bones, being knocked unconscious, and being taken away in ambulances,” he said.
Amazon’s European warehouse workers are going on strike to protest Black Friday and the company’s alleged mistreatment of its employees.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has dealt with this sort of issue. In July, thousands of the company’s Europe-based workers went on strike during Prime Day; a move they hoped would earn them better working conditions and improved pay.
This time around, protesters have similar goals. “It is one of the days that Amazon has most sales, and these are days when we can hurt more and make ourselves be heard,” said Amazon employee Eduardo Hernandez in a statement to the Associated Press (AP). “Because the company has not listened to us and does not want to reach any agreement.”
Amazon has been accused of treating staff like robots as it emerged that ambulances had been called out 600 times to the online retailer’s UK warehouses in the past three years.
A Freedom of Information request to ambulance services from the GMB union revealed 115 call-outs to Amazon’s site in Rugeley, near Birmingham, including three relating to pregnancy or maternity problems and three for major trauma.
- Thousands of Amazon workers across Europe were striking and protesting on Black Friday in anger at the company’s warehouse working conditions.
- Strikes were taking place across Amazon sites in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The Italian press reported that managers were having to pack boxes to meet demand.
- In the UK, the GMB trade union and off-shift Amazon workers were demonstrating outside warehouses.
- UK politicians expressed support for the protest, with the deputy leader of the opposition calling on Amazon management to listen to staff concerns.
- An Amazon spokesman said: “All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong.”
Thousands of Amazon staff members across Europe were protesting on Black Friday over the way the company treats its warehouse workers.
A coalition of unions across Europe coordinated the action, and the British trade union GMB published a video of workers telling Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos “we are not robots” in five different languages.