LEIPZIG, Germany – Employees of online retail giant Amazon gathered on Friday outside its centers across Germany for strikes over labor conditions, coinciding with one of the busiest days in terms of sales for retailers – “Black Friday.”
Workers’ union Verdi said action was planned at six major Amazon sites across Germany: Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Werne, Graben and Koblenz.
“The world’s largest online retailer wants to achieve record sales on this day, but employees have to produce record performance not only on this day so that everything runs how Amazon wants it,” Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzberger said.
She said there was “extreme strain” on Amazon employees, brought about by “constant checks, heavy workloads and physically stressful activities.”
Verdi pointed out that there were financial incentives in place, encouraging workers to go to work even when they were ill.
Amazon has been criticized by employees working in various countries for its workplace conditions and company culture, with a group of them banding together in 2015 to form the “Former And Current Employees of Amazon,” an initiative that collects complaints and calls for action.
Epa images showed scores of workers gathering outside a logistics center in the eastern city of Leipzig, holding placards bearing the words: “Make Amazon pay.”
Employees called on Amazon to establish a collective agreement that would guarantee “healthy and good working conditions.”
Hailing from the United States and gaining popularity elsewhere in recent years, Black Friday encourages shoppers to snap up products at often heavily discounted prices, both online and in physical stores.