‘We’re not robots’: Amazon employees protest across Europe on Black Friday

‘We’re not robots’: Amazon employees protest across Europe on Black Friday

Just in time for the online retailer's Black Friday bonanza, Amazon warehouse employees across Europe went on strike or are staging protests today.

As Tim Roache, head of the London-based GMB union explained: "The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman". Facebook and Twitter is replete with images with Amazon workers holding placards that read "Jeff Bezos, you're the richest man".

Although, when asked about strikes at its facilities in these countries, Amazon claimed: "Our European Fulfilment Network is fully operational and we continue to focus on delivering for our customers".

Workers at Amazon's biggest warehouse in Spain at San Fernando de Henares walked out as they call for better working conditions.

The strike of Amazon workers reportedly raised with the issue that managers had to step in and pack boxes in order to meet the demand. "Any reports to the contrary are simply wrong", said an Amazon spokesperson in a statement to Mashable.

Black Friday which marks a insane day of sales for the customers, and a big day for the retailers to see bumper profits, comes with its own share of disappointments when it comes to the warehouse workers who have to work prolonged hours to meet the demand. "People with kids, homes, bills to pay - they're not robots" Roche added. "We are not robots", the strikers are proclaiming. The group says it expects hundreds of employees to take part. These are people making Amazon its money.

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While many shoppers have turned away from the stampedes of Black Friday shopping and switched to the comfort of shopping online on websites such as Amazon.com, Inc.

"These are days when we can hurt more and make ourselves be heard because the company has not listened to us", said Eduardo Hernandez, in an interview with the AP.

In October, facing rising political pressure on its home turf after senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation targeting low rates of pay at the coal face of Amazon's business, the ecommerce giant said it would raise the minimum wage of its USA workers to $15 per hour.

Amazon defended its workplace policies, saying it had created more than 25,000 jobs in the United Kingdom and describing itself as "an employer that is as reliable as it is good" in Germany.

Amazon has become a symbol of wealth inequality and corporate welfare in the US since many of its warehouse workers receive government assistance for basic needs like food and health care, even though it is one of the world's most valuable companies run by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest man.

Amazon Germany said its jobs offered competitive pay and comprehensive benefits from the first day of employment. "We provide safe and positive working conditions, and encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfillment centers".

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