Amazon Black Friday protest: Verdi and Greenpeace go to the barricades

Amazon Black Friday protest
Verdi and Greenpeace are at the barricades

Environmental and consumer advocates have criticized the US company Amazon for years. Just in time for “Black Friday,” Verdi and Greenpeace are calling for protests around the world: The “Make Amazon Pay” campaign criticizes the group’s “terrible, dangerous practices.”

For the annual “Black Friday” discount campaign, unions and environmentalists in more than 30 countries have called for protests against the billion-dollar company Amazon. The “Make Amazon Pay” campaign called for better pay and binding collective agreements. In Germany, the Verdi union organized employee walkouts at several Amazon distribution centers. About 200 people demonstrated in Leipzig.

In Munich, the environmental organization Greenpeace attached a protest banner to Amazon’s German headquarters. Calls for strikes were heard in the US and France, among others. The “Make Amazon Pay” campaign accuses Amazon of exploiting both the environment and its own workers. The group rejects collective agreements, the dispute with the unions has been going on for years.

The international trade union federation UNI is significantly involved in the campaign. Its general secretary, Christy Hoffman, called on the company to immediately stop “its horrible, dangerous practices” and negotiate better working conditions with workers.

At a Munich protest, Greenpeace accused Amazon of contributing to overconsumption, packaging waste and wasted resources with its annual “Black Friday” discount battle. Anti-Amazon rallies should not only be held in industrialized countries, but also in developing countries such as Bangladesh, where seamstresses and textile workers have been called to protest.

Amazon denies all allegations

Amazon has denied the allegations from both directions. “We offer our employees in the logistics centers competitive wages and excellent social benefits, as well as ensuring them, for example, job security and health,” a spokeswoman for the company in Munich said in a written statement. Amazon plays a key role in the fight against climate change and has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040.

In Germany, Amazon now employs a good 20,000 people in logistics, and the American company operates 20 dispatch centers in Germany. In nine of these twenty companies there were calls for a strike. Ninety percent of logistics workers gave their jobs top marks in recent company surveys, an Amazon spokeswoman said. “We don’t see any effects of the campaign on customers.”

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