StockMarketNews.Today — Tuesday — 2018/07/17/
Between 2,500 and 3,000 of the company’s 16,000 workers in its largest market outside the US refused to work on Tuesday, according to German services union Verdi, although Amazon itself put the number in the hundreds.
The European strikes are the latest blow to Prime Day, Amazon’s 36-hour global discount event. Technical problems hit the company’s US website soon after the sale’s launch on Monday, with website-tracker Downdetector reporting Amazon.com as unavailable across swaths of the key US east and west coast regions.
Amazon’s warehouses have been the subject of long-running protests and concern about insecure work and poor conditions across Europe, particularly Germany where labour laws are tougher than in many other markets.
“[The German strike] is about the wages and wage levels, it’s about health and safety,” Verdi said. “The work is physically and psychologically demanding.”
Workers at distribution centres across the eurozone’s largest economy walked out several times in 2013 and in 2014 over pay and conditions. Verdi, the country’s second-largest union, had wanted Amazon to agree to collective bargaining arrangements and a reclassification of workers in distribution centres as retail workers — a move that would have entitled them to higher pay.
The company also came under fire in the German press, which is often much more sympathetic to workers than media in other big economies, after a documentary showed security workers mistreating foreign temporary staff. The security company was later fired by Amazon.
Amazon has 11 distribution centres in Germany. Unemployment in the country is at its lowest level since reunification between the east and west in 1990, which has led to bumper pay rises for German workers this year.
Amazon insisted it was a “fair and responsible” employer. “We believe in continuous improvement across our network and maintain an open and direct dialogue with associates… provide safe and positive working conditions.”
It added that Prime Day would be “an epic day of our best deals”.
The German strike comes a day after Amazon staff in Spain also downed tools.
The Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras union said most of Amazon’s workers at its flagship Spanish warehouse near Madrid had refused to work to protest against changes to collective bargaining agreements, leaving only about 80 in their posts on the first day of the promotions.
“In 2016 the company’s [collective bargaining] agreement came to an end,” the union said. “After nonsense negotiations, the company decided unilaterally to apply a sectoral [collective bargaining] agreement and this changed the working conditions of many workers.”
Amazon also contested the Spanish union’s figures, saying the “majority” of its 1,400 workers at the site had gone to work on Monday. The company has about 2,000 fulfilment workers across Spain.
Amazon.com Inc Company Profile:
Amazon.com, Inc. offers a range of products and services through its Websites. The Company operates through three segments: North America, International and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Company’s products include merchandise and content that it purchases for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. It also manufactures and sells electronic devices. The Company, through its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market, Inc., offers healthy and organic food and staples across its stores. The Company also offers a range of products like whole trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic gala and fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken.
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