Worker Protests mark Amazon’s ‘Black Friday’ in Europe
Black Friday, a day after thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US. Till about 2010, Black Friday, an unknown phenomenon in Europe, was popularized by American companies like Amazon and Apple. With Black Friday’s growing popularity, the European retailers, both online and off line, started selling at highly discounted prices.
For Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company, the Black Friday 2019 did not go as expected, across Europe. Amazon employees in Germany (Amazon’s second largest market) went on strike. The worker unions in the UK, Italy, Spain and France started protesting over poor working conditions and low pay at the Amazon warehouses. According to Germany base workers’ Union ver.di, more than 2,200 people, across six distribution centers walked off their work on Friday and reported back to work only on the following Tuesday.
In September 2019, a reporter from The Sunday Mirror who spent five week in Amazon’s Essex warehouse wrote about 55-hour work weeks, unfair working conditions, workers collapsing at working stations and timed toiled breaks.
Amazon, which claimed to have created 75,000 jobs across Europe, denied the allegations and claimed that it offered industry-leading pay, comprehensive benefits, and safe work environment.