Black Friday is arguably one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and workers across Europe have taken the opportunity to go on strike in protest against its working practice. The strikes, which are occurring in more than 30 countries, have been organised by the UNI Global Union under the campaign “Make Amazon Pay” and will run from Friday 24th November until Monday 27th November.
Amazon has been advertising its Black Friday deals all week as part of a Black Friday week of deals, starting from November 17th, to draw in sales as demand from shoppers increasingly moves away from brick-and-mortar stores to online storefronts such as Amazon itself.
In Germany, it’s reported by trade union Verdi that there are around 250 workers who have gone on strike at an Amazon warehouse in Leipzig, which accounts for approximately 20% of the total workforce. Additionally, a warehouse in Rheinberg has seen around 500 workers go on strike which represents nearly 40% of the total workforce.
In France, Amazon’s parcel lockers have been vandalised with posters and ticker tape in a planned protest by anti-globalisation organisation Attac. The group, which calls Black Friday “a celebration of overproduction and overconsumption” estimates that its plans are to be larger than last year, targeting approximately 100 locker locations across France. These parcel lockers are locations in public places, such as metro stations, where customers can get parcels delivered to for collection later.
Meanwhile in England, a warehouse in Coventry has seen workers go on strike for higher pay and better working conditions. Current starting pay is £11.80 to £13 per hour, but Amazon has said this will increase to start from £12.30 to £13 per hour in April 2024. The workers are asking for the pay to start from a minimum of £15 per hour, which they have been chanting from the picket line. Amazon UK has stated that these strikes will not cause any disruption to the day’s operations.
Additionally, strikes have been planned to be held in Italy and Spain, today and on Cyber Monday respectively; however the strike in Italy doesn’t appear to have had any significant impact with 86% of workers attending work according to Amazon.