As the holiday season officially begins, workers all over the world prepare for increased traffic in stores. But as Black Friday comes to a close that does not mean the shopping is going to end, too. You are probably already aware that online holiday shopping has been growing quickly every year, with Cyber Monday becoming an annual event on the same level as Black Friday.
But as Cyber Monday becomes more and more popular, the traffic on the internet has increased, too. And with that, workers at online stores and online outlets will be inundated near the same level as many brick-and-mortar stores.
As the largest online retailer, then, Amazon gets hit pretty hard during the holiday season and that means the workers take on a lot of extra stress. Because of that, Amazon employees in parts of Europe are striking Black Friday to protest what they describe to be unsafe work conditions and, of course, anti-union tactics.
Workers in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Germany cite comparatively low pay and hazardous working conditions among their complaints. Also, they say the leadership makes unreasonable performance expectations.
German Amazon worker Andrea Schmidtkunz is a member of the ver.di union and she says some workers even had to undergo multiple surgeries after they joined the company. She confirms that many employees describe feeling physical pain or even injury while on the job. Similarly, Spanish Amazon worker Eduardo Hernandez comments that his doctor told him Amazon workers are on their feet working what could be the equivalent of a marathon every day; and for five days at a time, sometimes.
Professional athletes do not even move this much, on their feet, every day.
It is the Amazon warehouse in Spain, in fact, which has been hit the hardest by the strike. Protestors at the warehouse, which is actually located in San Fernando de Henares, outside Madrid, have gathered outside the warehouse to fly banners and chant slogans about walking off the job. Some even made custom tee shirts.
According to the labor unions involved with the strike, upwards of 90 percent of staff at this particular warehouse have joined the movement. Amazon, of course, disputes the claims, arguing that the opposite is true: most workers are still inside the warehouse processing online orders.