E-commerce giant Amazon is facing protests in over 30 countries worldwide. Company’s warehouse employees and activists are uniting in observing Black Friday, a day of protests, strikes, and actions known as MakeAmazonPay coordinated by the Make Amazon Pay campaign.
Their demands include respect workers’ right to unionise, adhere to tax laws, and commit to higher environmental standards. This is the fourth year that Make Amazon Pay has organised a Global Day of Action on Black Friday.
Protests span Amazon’s global supply chain, from Brazil to the United States, with actions in Germany, the UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Poland, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Australia.
In Germany alone, 3,000 workers are taking part at six Amazon facilities, while in Bangladesh, garment workers who produce Amazon-sold clothes are part of the campaign.
The #MakeAmazonPay statement, signed by 39 organisations and directed at Amazon, highlights the stark contrast between the company’s success and its treatment of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It reads, “Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and only briefly received an increase in pay.”
The demands, supported by over 50 social justice organisations, include higher wages, reinstating fired workers who spoke up about safety concerns, allowing union access to Amazon worksites, achieving zero emissions by 2030, and ending the sale of surveillance-dependent devices like Amazon Ring. Amazon is also urged to pay taxes in full where economic activity occurs.
While Amazon spokesperson Conor Sweeney defends the company’s record, emphasizing safe working conditions, a $15 minimum wage, and climate change initiatives, critics argue that Amazon’s success is at the expense of public institutions. Alex Cobham from the Tax Justice Network notes, “If we allow Amazon to keep all these excess profits, it will only strengthen its monopoly position.”