Amazon workers prepare global strike on Black Friday

Luay Rahil
Photo Credit: Canva

Amazon workers in 20 countries are preparing to strike on Black Friday as part of the "Make Amazon Pay" campaign.

Employees are trying to improve their working conditions and demand accountability from their managers. The campaign is led by "Make Amazon Pay," which says, "We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes and for its impact on the planet."

On Black Friday 26 November 2021, from oil refineries, to factories, to warehouses, to data centres, to corporate offices in countries across the world, workers and activists are rising up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay.

"Make Amazon Pay" is raising money to support Amazon frontline employees and help them travel and organize face-to-face meetings as they take on the most powerful corporation in the world.

"Make Amazon Pay" published a list of demands published on its website and most of their demands seem very reasonable.

  1. Improve the workplace by raising wages, getting adequate breaks, suspending unreasonable productivity metrics.
  2. Provide job security to all by ending Amazon's bogus self-employment status, establishing fair hiring practices, and reinstating anyone fired for speaking up about Amazon's abusive practices.
  3. Respect workers' universal rights by ending union-busting, granting union access to Amazon worksites to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities.
  4. Operate sustainably by committing to zero emissions by 2030 and stopping all sponsoring of climate change denial.
  5. Payback to society by forcing Amazon to pay taxes in full and stop its anti-competitive business practices that lead to monopolization.

These demands were signed by more than 70 organizations such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Data 4 Black Lives, Amazon Workers International, Oxfam, War on Want, etc.

The richest person in the world

Business Insiders reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion-dollar company, with Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth. As Bezos wealth was increasing quickly, "Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and only briefly received a pay increase."

It will be interesting to see how Amazon management and shareholders will respond. But every year, Amazon workers protest, and nothing changes at Amazon. The company always says the right things but does nothing to improve employees working conditions or pay. Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in an emailed statement that "Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf."

"Make Amazon Pay" recognizes that these problems are not unique to employees at Amazon. Although most corporations place profit before people, "Amazon is not alone in these bad practices, but it sits at the heart of a failed system that drives the inequality, climate breakdown, and democratic decay that scar our age."

Most overlooked asset in the supply chain

This is not a boycott. This is a strike. It aims to stress the company infrastructure as much as possible and make the company feel the absence of its workforce. That is the reason these employees chose Black Friday to start their strike.

Amazon may be everywhere, but we are too. At every link in this chain of abuse, we are fighting back to Make Amazon Pay. On Black Friday 26 November 2021, around the world, workers and activists will rise up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay.”

Gary S.Lynch specializes in supply chain management says, "Human capital, the most volatile and overlooked asset in the supply chain. No one owns it, but everyone owns the fallout. So understand it, map it, reward it, and prepare for its volatility and absence."

Will Amazon be ready if the strike lasts for more than one day, one week, or one month?

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