Right on the eve of the biggest shopping season of the year, Amazon is finding itself hitting various snags. First, the company was hit by a major data breach. In a development that while less worrying in the short-term, could have significant consequences if not corrected, warehouse workers in several countries have started protesting against what they claim are “inhuman working conditions”.
As per a tweet by GMB Union:
This #BlackFriday Amazon workers worldwide have come together with one message for billionaire Jeff Bezos. We are not robots, treat us with dignity and respect.
Please share their message #AmazonWeAreNotRobots
The eCommerce giant has been having trouble with workers through out this year. And it appears that they have now planned this protest strategically, so that it coincides with Black Friday, right where it will hurt Amazon the most. Even as retailers across the globe are giving heavy discounts and Amazon as other retailers are poring money into advertising, so as to get customers to purchase in massive volumes, this strike could potentially affect deliveries and orders.
The GMB Union, based out of the UK, says that it expects hundreds of workers to attend protests which have been scheduled for early morning and afternoon at Amazon warehouses in Rugeley, Milton Keynes, Warrington, Peterborough and Swansea. Spain, France, and Italy have also been pegged down as countries where warehouse workers could give trouble to Amazon.
Meanwhile, Amazon has refused to accept that there is any trouble at all.
Our European Fulfilment Network is fully operational and we continue to focus on delivering for our customers. Any reports to the contrary are simply wrong.
However, the fact that these strikes are becoming a recurring occurrence is troubling. In Spain alone, today’s protests by workers at Amazon’s largest logistics center in the country, is their fourth with protestors in Madrid chanting “We will not accept discounts to our rights.”.
Speaking on the topic,
Tim Roache, the GMB’s general secretary, said:
The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman. They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances. We’re standing up and saying enough is enough, these are people making Amazon its money. People with kids, homes, bills to pay — they’re not robots.
Jeff Bezos is the richest bloke on the planet; he can afford to sort this out. You’d think making the workplace safer so people aren’t carted out of the warehouse in an ambulance is in everyone’s interest, but Amazon seemingly have no will to get round the table with us as the union representing hundreds of their staff. Working people and the communities Amazon operates in deserve better than this. That’s what we’re campaigning for.
The Union also said that Amazon had not responded to a joint plea that was backed by a shadow minister, to take steps to reduce the hundreds of ambulance calls that are made from its warehouses.
Meanwhile, these signs are worrying. Amazon is known for pressing down and fulfilling the needs of customers, and employees. However, these outbursts by employees across the world point to a very different reality. The company needs to put its ears to the ground and sort out the kinks in its system if it wants to continue as the number one eCommerce retailer in the world.