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Amazon workers across world urged to strike on Black Friday

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(Reuters) —  Workers at Amazon sites across the world, including in the United States, Germany and France, were urged to strike on Black Friday, targeting the online retailer on one of the busiest shopping days of the year with calls for better pay.

The Make Amazon Pay initiative, which made the call for strikes, said industrial action was planned in more than 30 countries.

Germany’s Verdi union said work stoppages were planned at 10 warehouses, dubbed ‘fulfilment centres’, in the country. France’s SUD and CGT unions called for strike action in the country’s eight warehouses.

Verdi demanded the company recognize collective bargaining agreements for the retail and mail order trade sector and called for a further collective agreement on good working conditions, while French unions called for an increase of a higher cash bonus for period preceding Christmas, during which employees at warehouses are asked to do a lot of overtime work.

“As an employer, Amazon offers great pay, benefits and development opportunities – all in an attractive and safe working environment,” a spokesperson for Amazon in Germany said in a statement.

Among other things, the spokesperson pointed to a wage increase for Amazon logistics employees in Germany from September, with the starting wage now at 13 euros ($13.52) per hour or more, including bonus payments.

A spokesperson for Amazon in France said that all warehouse employees earning less than 3,100 euros per month would receive a one-time bonus of 500 euros, on top of a 150-euro end-of-year bonus agreed with the union.

On Friday morning, the company said the vast majority of its employees in Germany were working as normal, with strike action limited to nine of its 20 German fulfilment centres.

Amazon France said there had been no sign of disruption to operations so far. Two French union officials said they were not expecting a big turnout because the rising cost-of-living was driving employees to seek overtime.

“This is the first time that Amazon has had an international strike day,” said Monika Di Silvestre, Verdi’s representative for Amazon workers.

“This is very important, because a major global corporation like Amazon cannot be confronted locally, regionally or nationally alone,” she added.

Amazon in the United States did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

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