This week – one of the busiest shopping periods of the years – Amazon warehouse workers in Germany and Spain are unleashing a series of strikes. These actions come just weeks after the successful Make Amazon Pay Day which has garnered international support and attention on Black Friday, 24 November.
In Germany, workers from several Amazon warehouses in Winsen headed to the picket lines on Sunday. Their demands are centered around better pay and the establishment of working contracts that ensure healthy conditions. This movement is not new; for a decade, members of the German union ver.di have consistently raised their voices against Amazon’s labour practices. In addition to the demand to recognize the collective wage agreements of the retail and mail order sector, ver.di is also calling for Amazon to sign a “collective agreement for good and healthy work.”
Similarly, in Spain, workers at the Amazon warehouse in Dos Hermanas, Seville have walked off the job. The unions that make up the workers’ committee at Amazon (UGT, CCOO and FETICO) have called for an indefinite strike at the logistics centre to get a “comparable salary, which dignifies and values the work done by all the people of the center.”
UGT, which holds the majority in that committee, said that Monday, 18 December, in the middle of the Christmas busy season, workers will gather at the gates of the warehouse to kick-off the strike with demands “for wages, payment of holidays, overtime, training hours, and more.”
Last month’s Make Amazon Pay Day, co-coordinated by UNI Global Union, saw workers and allies from over 30 countries, including the UK, Italy, the US, and Japan, participating in various forms of protest. The day of action is a global declaration against Amazon’s exploitative practices. This year’s actions included strikes in several countries, climate activism at Amazon Web Services facilities, and rallies by workers in Indian cities and Bangladeshi garment workers.
Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, noted growing strength of this movement, stating, “This movements is growing because workers know that it doesn’t matter what country you’re in or what your job title is, we are all united in the fight for higher wages, an end to unreasonable quotas, and a voice on the job.”
UNI Global Union remains steadfast in its support for these workers and Amazon workers everywhere who are pushing for broader change in the company’s labour relations. It’s UNI Amazon Global Union Alliance and the Make Amazon Pay push are united behind common demands that Amazon pays its workers fairly, respects their right to join unions, commits to real environmental sustainability, and pays its fair share of taxes.
As the strikes unfold in Germany and Spain, the global labour movement watches closely, with hopes that in a new year, Amazon workers gain a world where all labour is valued, respected, and adequately compensated.