Tuesday, 17 July 2018 06:39

Employees stage protests as Amazon Prime Day gets underway Featured

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Workers at Amazon in Europe have walked out to protest against the company's employment conditions ahead of the company's Prime Day which began at midnight Australian time and runs for 36 hours.

Forbes reported that the workers were staging protests in order to draw attention to what they claim are bad treatment of low-level employees who have been critical of the company's working conditions.

In Australia, the activist group SumOfUs urged the public to donate sums ranging from $4 to $8 and fund ads against Amazon's employee policies.

"With your donation we’re going to plaster the Internet with anti-Amazon ads on Amazon Prime Day. Every time a shopper sees Amazon advertising new deals, your ad will be sitting right alongside - telling customers everything they need to know about Amazon’s shocking mistreatment of workers," a SumOfUs spokesperson said in a statement.

The group repeated a claim made earlier this year by an author who worked undercover at Amazon that employees in England and France were so weighed down by work that they had to urinate in bottles.

In the run-up to the Prime Day, Amazon workers in Spain went on a strike last week. Other centres, in France, England, Germany and Poland, are reportedly set to stage similar protests.

The Australian SumOfUs spokesperson said: "Amazon exploits and underpays its warehouse workers and same-day delivery workers all over the world – but with your help, we have an opportunity to usurp the messaging on Prime Day to focus on the human cost to all these discounts."

In a statement sent to iTWire, an Amazon spokesperson did not directly address the protests or the claim that employees had to urinate in buckets but said: "Amazon is a fair and responsible employer and as such we are committed to dialogue, which is an inseparable part of our culture. We are committed to ensuring a fair co-operation with all our employees, including positive working conditions and a caring and inclusive environment.

"Amazon has invested over €15 billion across Europe and have created over 65,000 permanent jobs since 2010 and provides a safe and positive workplace with competitive pay and benefits from day one. We encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfilment centres."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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