Amazon warehouse workers are set to protest ‘inhuman’ working conditions in planned demonstrations across Europe on Black Friday [the huge shopping day after Thanksgiving].
Hundreds of Amazon employees are working with the British trade union GMB and planning to gather outside five of the website’s fulfillment centers on Friday. Meanwhile, in Italy and Spain, a 24-hour strike is planned. …
The GMB reported last year that ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses in an incredible 600 times in the last three years for incidents including electric shocks, exhaustion, chest pains, major trauma — and on three occasions even pregnancy-related issues. “At a similar sized supermarket distribution warehouse a few miles away, there were just eight call outs during the same period,” the GMB said at the time.
The GMB gathered disturbing statements from Amazon employees in advance of the protests.
One pregnant woman reported that she is forced to “stand 10 hours without a chair” and told to work hard, despite her superiors knowing she is pregnant. Another described Amazon as “an awful place to work” where people “can’t breathe or voice an opinion” and “feel like a trapped animal with lack of support and respect.”
It’s not the first time Amazon has come under fire for atrocious working conditions. A 2017 investigation by an undercover journalist for the Daily Mirror found that workers were treated “like animals” and forced to work until they physically collapsed. …
The company has also been criticized for not paying workers a livable wage. After a campaign of pressure from high profile figures like US Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, Amazon agreed to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in October, but quickly announced that it would be slashing employee benefits to offset the costs.
Amazon’s leftist owner also owns the Washington Post newspaper. There could be a lot more to this story, such as why it has gained prominence on a right-wing site like Drudge, why Bernie Sanders has been hammering Amazon’s working conditions, and why Amazon workers are finally getting organized.