Protests are being staged at Amazon buildings in the UK, the US and Europe on Black Friday, the BBC reported.
The shopping sales day is among Amazon’s busiest all year. An international coalition of unions, equality and environmental groups called ‘Make Amazon Pay’ is staging a day of action, the report said.
The movement is demanding Amazon to make changes to its business, including improved pay, an end to employee surveillance, and union engagement.
In an unrelated separate protest, the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ environmental group has blocked the entrances to Amazon distribution centres in the UK, the report added.
The Make Amazon Pay coalition is not affiliated to the Extinction Rebellion group, but also has environmental groups such as Greenpeace among its members.
“Amazon takes too much and gives back too little,” it claims — backed by trade unions, grassroots campaigns and non-profit-making organisations in individual countries.
Owen Espley from the ‘War on Want’ campaign group, said: “Amazon is abusing its dominance across online retail, cloud services, and logistics, to create unfair competition that is driving down standards for everyone. Amazon workers face unsafe conditions, constant surveillance and are treated like robots. It’s time for Amazon to pay fair wages, fair taxes, and for its impact on the planet.”
The GMB union also released figures on Friday that it said showed ambulance callouts to Amazon warehouses increased by nearly 50 per cent in the run-up to Black Friday — something it blames on staff rushing to hit “crushing targets”, the report added.
It filed ‘Freedom of Information’ requests with four ambulance trusts near ‘major Amazon sites’. It said the data shows that over five years, November had the most ambulance visits.
Amazon said such claims were “using incomplete information that’s without context and designed to intentionally mislead”.
“We know we’re not perfect and are continuing to get better every day, but the fact is that Amazon has 40% fewer injuries on average compared to other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK,” a spokesperson said.
It claimed the “vast majority” of ambulance visits to its buildings were for pre-existing conditions.
Mick Rix from the GMB Union said: “This company is a pandemic profiteer that can afford to do better. It’s time for Amazon to sit down with its workers’ union GMB and make Amazon a great, safe place to work,” as per the report.