UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig in Social Europe

27.11.23

Commerce

Amazon

On Black Friday, on 24 November 2023, Amazon faced strikes and protests in over 30 countries around the world in a massive day of action coordinated by the Make Amazon Pay campaign. For Social Europe, UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig wrote about the day — and why it is wrong that public authorities are rewarding Amazon with lucrative cloud-computing contracts.

UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig in Social Europe

UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig wrote in Social Europe:

“On this day, Black Friday, three years ago, Amazon warehouse workers and their progressive allies co-ordinated a global protest for the first time in the company’s history, under the banner ‘Make Amazon Pay’. During the pandemic, Amazon—its founder, Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world—had forced workers to be at the warehouses without protective equipment. But on Black Friday they pushed back with strikes and actions in 15 countries to demand safety and dignity. Today, Amazon workers in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and the United States are making their demand to Make Amazon Pay even louder, with a new wave of strikes. It is a display of the collective power they have built, together with supporters in their workplaces, on the streets and in parliaments.”

He went on to argue that Amazon should not receive public contracts as long as it busts unions and treats its workers without respect:

“In 2021, UNI Europa, the European service workers’ union federation, published research showing that the total estimated value of AWS contracts with public institutions in Europe amounted to as much as half a billion euro a year from 2019 to 2021. That’s €1.3 billion in public money in just three years. The research was based on publicly available data, so the actual figure is most likely higher. Worse still, in follow-up research UNI Europa showed that up to 99 per cent of public contracts going to Amazon were awarded without open competition. It is wrong that public authorities are rewarding Amazon—and, by extension, its business model—with lucrative cloud-computing contracts. The company is a prime example of why UNI Europa has campaigned for public contracts to go only to those with a collective agreement in place.”

Read the full article here.

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