E-Commerce

Amazon Prime Day Sparks Protest

Amazon‘s annual global shopping sale “Amazon Prime Day” is on for 15-16 July and now it has sparked outrage amongst the amazon employees in Germany. Thousands of workers at Amazon’s facilities in Germany went on strike Monday, making them the latest to use Prime Day to bring attention to the company’s working conditions.

The strikes officially started on Sunday evening, under the slogan “No more discount on our incomes.” They’re centered around wages for Amazon employees in Germany, which workers say are not livable, CNN Reports. Unions have asked for collective bargaining agreements to be established across Germany’s retail sector.

“While Amazon throws huge discounts to its customers on Prime Day, employees lack a living wage,” said Orhan Akman of Germany’s Verdi union, which helped organize the event. More than 2,000 people reportedly participated in the strike.

Germany wasn’t the only place Amazon workers were protesting on Monday. Warehouse employees in Shakopee, Minnesota are protesting against company policies and working conditions in warehouses. Those employees planned to strike for three hours at the start of the day shift and three hours at the start of the evening shift to put pressure on Amazon to offer employees safe and reliable jobs.

European Amazon workers are no stranger to protesting. Workers have held several protests over the years including a demonstration during Prime Day last year that included employees in Italy, The United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain.

In October 2018 Amazon heaped praises from all when it decided to pay at least  $15 minimum wage to all its US employees, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers,  and all Uk employees at least £9.50 beginning November 1st, 2018. Though according to several employees, the working environment remained grueling, with long working hours required by employees at Amazon’s facilities, which often do not result in bonuses for those employees. Workers claim that conditions are so strenuous that people have collapsed on the job from exhaustion. Employees in Germany and Italy also protested during Black Friday in 2017 for similar reasons.

Last year the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health named Amazon as one of the most dangerous places to work in the United States, citing seven warehouse worker’s deaths at Amazon facilities in the US since 2013.

To acquire customers and expanding its reach across the market. Companies have been reliant on discounting to ratchet up growth. E-commerce companies are trying their best to garner an edge over their competitor through heavy discount, speedy product deliveries and tempting offers all year round. But this comes at the cost for employees working in the warehouse struggling all day to keep up with the demand and efficiency required. Moreover, the problem is bound to get complicated with the eventual introduction of robotics and automation in the warehousing sector which has already wiped out the significant amount of required human labor. And thus a balanced and a co-operative approach is required to safeguard the interest of employee as well as the employer.

 

-Aditya Patil

 

 

 

 

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