Warehouse workers and drivers striking in the U.K., U.S., Italy, and Spain and Germany
On November 24, 2023, Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, and through the weekend and Monday, Amazon will face strikes and protests in over 30 countries around the world in a massive day of action coordinated by the Make Amazon Pay campaign.
“This day of action grows every year because the movement to hold Amazon accountable keeps getting bigger and stronger. 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,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “That’s what workers in Coventry are striking for, and that is why workers around the world are standing up to Make Amazon Pay.”
This is the fourth year that Make Amazon Pay has organized a global day of action on Black Friday. In previous years, thousands of workers went on strike at facilities throughout Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Italy, garment workers’ took to the streets in Bangladesh, workers in the US organized walkouts, civil society allies held demonstrations projecting the Make Amazon Pay logo at Amazon headquarters all over the world, projecting “pandemic profiteer” onto Jeff Bezos mansion, and climate activists blockaded Amazon warehouses in three European countries.
Co-convened by UNI Global Union and the Progressive International, Make Amazon Pay brings together over 80 unions, civil society organizations, environmentalists and tax watchdogs including UNI Global Union, the Progressive International, Greenpeace, 350.org, Tax Justice Network and Amazon Workers International. The campaign is united behind a set of common demands that Amazon pays its workers fairly and respects their right to join unions, pays its fair share of taxes and commits to real environmental sustainability.
“From the warehouses in Coventry to the factories of Dhaka, this Global Day of Action is more than a protest. It is a worldwide declaration that this age of abuse must end,” said Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla, co-General Coordinator of the Progressive International. “Amazon’s globe-spanning empire, which exploits workers, our communities and our planet, now faces a growing globe-spanning movement to Make Amazon Pay.”
Highlights from Make Amazon Pay day 2023 are set to include:
These actions reflect the widespread criticism of Amazon’s corporate practices. According to a comprehensive 2023 UNI Global Union survey, Amazon’s intense performance monitoring has inflicted stress, pressure, anxiety, and a sense of mistrust among its employees across eight key countries. The survey reveals alarming statistics: 51% of employees report adverse health effects, and 57% cite deteriorating mental health due to Amazon’s intrusive monitoring. This has led to increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and the public, with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders investigating the company’s “abysmal safety record.”
A new report by the U.S.-based National Employment Law Project (NELP), Amazon’s warehouse workers receive significantly lower wages compared to other workers in the sector and considerably less than average earnings in their corresponding U.S. counties.
In a landmark move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 17 state attorneys general have launched a lawsuit against tech and retail giant Amazon.com, Inc., accusing it of maintaining a monopolistic grip on the market through a series of anti-competitive practices.
“This global action underscores the urgent need for Amazon to address its egregious labour practices and engage in fair bargaining with its workers,” said Stuart Appelbaum President of RWDSU. “Our collective actions are gaining momentum, challenging Amazon’s unfair practices and advocating for workers’ rights and a sustainable future for all. Together, we can Make Amazon Pay.”
“In Bangladesh, garment workers make the clothes that Amazon sells and profits from. But Amazon doesn’t even recognize us as its workers nor sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to keep our factories safe. That precarity leaves us open to even more abuse: dangerous working conditions, a minimum wage below the $209 per month we are demanding, and trade unionists attacked and killed by police,” said Nazma Akhter, President of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation and Progressive International council member. “We make Amazon’s profits and together with our brothers and sisters around the world, we will Make Amazon Pay.”
“Amazon is failing our planet. At its current rate, Amazon won’t reach its stated 2040 net zero target until 2378,” said Irish Senator Lynn Boylan and participant in the Summit to Make Amazon Pay. “In my country, Ireland, Amazon’s hunger for relentless expansion will contribute to us exceeding our carbon budget with plans for three new data centres, whose insatiable demand for electricity drives up demand for gas. The unbridled expansion of data centres has raised alarms, with EirGrid warning of grid instability and the risk of rolling blackouts. Across the world, Amazon Web Services is deeply involved in different phases of oil production, focusing on pipelines, shipping, and storage for oil and gas companies. It’s time to Make Amazon Pay for its environmental damage.”
“Amazon workers are taking action around the globe to fight for the good jobs we deserve. In the U.S., my Teamster siblings and I are on strike against Amazon’s unfair labor practices. We have taken our picket line across the country and now we’re joining our colleagues from around the world to demand respect, fair wages, and a workplace where our health and safety are a priority. Amazon is no match for the power of its workers united,” said Jessie Moreno, Amazon Teamsters member from Local 396 in California.
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