Amazon employees protest for salary increases and better working conditions during Black Friday.
Amazon’s Black Friday was also marked by protests from company employees and environmentalists around the world. With the Make Amazon Pay initiative, a coalition of more than 40 entities asks the company to offer better working conditions and adopt sustainable practices.
The protests were expected to take place in 15 countries, including Brazil. The group also envisaged actions by workers from the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Australia.
In Germany, employees paralyzed seven Amazon distribution centers. In Bangladesh, clothing workers protested outside the company’s facilities. In the UK, Germany and India, workers designed the phrase “Make Amazon Pay” on company buildings.
Among the demands of the group, is the increase of wages in line with the growth of the company and the payment of additional for dangerousness and bonuses for those who work during peak hours. The coalition also calls for the extension of paid sick leave to all workers in the company.
In addition, the group calls for an end to any company practice to prevent the organization of workers, including spying on employees and organizations.
Make Amazon Pay defends the end of Amazon’s contracts with the fossil energy industry and asks for the company’s commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2030. The initiative also calls for the end of the company’s partnerships with police and immigration agencies, in addition to full payment of taxes in the countries where it operates.
On the Make Amazon Pay website, workers and environmentalists claim that the new coronavirus pandemic exposed how the company “puts profit ahead of workers, society and the planet”. The group says that the company receives a lot and returns little and highlighted the motto of the protests by stating that “it is time to make Amazon pay”.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion-dollar corporation, with CEO Jeff Bezos becoming the first person in history to accumulate $ 200 billion in personal wealth,” says the group . “In the meantime, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers and only briefly received an increase in pay.”
The increase was announced by the company in March. Due to the additional demand created in the pandemic, the company announced the opening of 100 thousand vacancies and a readjustment of US $ 2 per hour in the salary of employees in distribution centers, stores and delivery networks. However, the decision was only valid until May.
On Thursday, Amazon said frontline workers will have bonuses this year, $ 300 for full-time employees and $ 150 for part-time employees. According to the company, the decision will represent an expense of US $ 500 million.
Amazon responds to protests
After the protests, Amazon said the group makes a series of misleading claims and is organized by ill-informed groups that use the company’s image to promote their individual causes. In a note to Business Insider, the company stated that it already meets several of the workers’ demands.
“Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our employees, customers and communities, including providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits,” he said. The company further claimed that it has already committed to being a zero-carbon company by 2040 and claimed that it pays billions of pounds in taxes worldwide.