Amazon’s Prime Day is a big thing for the company: it aims to keep its existing Prime members around with enticing new offers as well as to pull in new clients. This year, Prime Day will last for 48 hours and, in its fifth year, it has already reached the same level of discounts and deals as Black Friday.
Prime Day will see new deals launch every five minutes “giving shoppers plenty of reasons to come back again and again“.
Obviously, Amazon would want all hands on deck during these pivotal 48 hours, but it’s on this particular day that a group of warehouse workers from Shakopee, Minnesota, have decided to go on strike. While it’s not the first time they’re doing it, it is the first time they proceed during such an important day for the company.
The workers demand to be treated “with respect as human beings and not like machines,” William Stolz, a picker at the Shakopee warehouse has told the BBC.
He added that, while Amazon advertises its warehouse jobs as having ‘great employment opportunities, the workers see themselves having to pick items every eight seconds, which means 332 items per hour, for 10 hours a day.
“The speeds that we have to work are very physically and mentally exhausting, in some cases leading to injuries,” Stolz has said.
The list goes on and on: decreased bonuses and increased work hours, no job security for temporary workers, as well as protest hours deducted from the workers, which can see some of them fired – the workers receive 20 hours of unpaid time every three months. If they happen to go under those 20 hours, they can consider themselves out of a job.
And these issues are only the tip of the iceberg for the Amazon warehouse workers.
The complaints of the Shakopee workers are echoed by the German Amazon employees as well: 2,000 of them are already on strike at seven sites and stand under the logo “no more discount on our incomes”.
In the United Kingdom, the situation echoes similar: protesters are expected to make an appearance at the Peterborough site in the East Midlands, Swansea and Rugeley, which rest in the West Midlands, after having been handed leaflets by the GMB union officials.
“Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos to know they are people not robots.” Mick Rix, GMB national officer has said. “It’s prime time for Amazon to get round the table with GMB and discuss ways to make the workplaces safer and to give their workers and independence voice“.
GMB counts on the Amazon workers to make some noise and, while he didn’t mention anything about the customers boycotting the company, Rix mentioned that, if any of them want to lend a helping hand, they can leave feedback on Amazons website.
U.K workers are gearing up for a week-long protest while those in Minnesota plan to stop working altogether during Prime Day for six hours total.