As shoppers around the world are being whipped into a frenzy of shopping for Black Friday, workers at Amazon’s main distribution hub in Italy and at some warehouses in Germany are on strike.
Over 500 workers at the e-commerce giant’s main distribution hub in Italy have walked out, while six Amazon warehouses in Germany are also closed today.
The strike follows the collapse of talks with Amazon for bonuses and better pay, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Unions said more the 500 Amazon workers at the Piacenza site in northern Italy had agreed to strike following a failure to negotiate bonuses with the company.
Italian trade union Fist-Cisl general secretary Pierangelo Ranieri said in a statement yesterday that the significant growth of the e-commerce business in Italy should push trade unions and companies to define a collective agreement guaranteeing employees sustainable working hours and adequate salaries.
The trade union is also organising a demonstration outside the Amazon plant where representatives of the labor union will be present to show their support to workers.
Employees need to feel protected because they worry about the company’s reactions. After a negotiation that lasted two years with Amazon, which did not take into account our requests nor did it provide any solution, it was the right time to debate issues such as health and safety conditions and revise the salaries. A public action of demand was necessary to raise awareness in the public opinion, as well.
Amazon employs around 1,600 people on a permanent basis at the Piacenza site, the first it built in the country after launching its Italian website in 2010.
E-commerce is growing fast in Italy where online sales account only for 10 percent of overall retail sales, according to consultancy EY — half the European average.
Meanwhile, in Germany the Verdi trade union said Amazon employees would also strike on Friday at six distribution centres.
Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzenberger said:
The world’s biggest online retailer wants to achieve record sales on this day, but employees have to produce record performance not only on this day so that everything runs how Amazon wants it.
Black Friday means a busy day
The number of orders Amazon receives on Black Friday may seem little compared to Alibaba’s 1.48bn shoppers this Singles’ Day, but the online retailer still has to more than double its staff strength to cope with higher demand.
Since the early 2000’s, US-based retailers like Amazon, have attempted to push Black Friday through to the UK and other parts of Europe.
Black Friday arrived a year later in the Netherlands and finally hit Poland, Greece, the Ukraine and Belgium in 2016.
According to Zemor, Black Friday took a while to become popular in Europe because of cultural differences with the US
While Europe doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we can see the same thing with Halloween, which arrived in France almost ten years ago, but is still not widely celebrated.