The CGIL, Italy's biggest trade union confederation, Cisl, Uil and Ugl have called for a strike on Friday at Amazon’s main distribution hub, following a failure to negotiate bonuses with the company.
The warehouse employs a total of 1,600 permanent employees, who are demanding an increase in salaries to compensate for mandatory night shifts, overtime, and working six days in a row to keep up with logistical demands at an exhausting rhythm, both physically and psychologically.
Workers have also decided to start an overtime ban until December 31, covering the peak season for the online retailer which hires approximately more than 1,800 temporary workers during this period.
This distribution center, located in Castel San Giovanni, in the province of Piacenza, was until recently the only hub that Amazon had in Italy. Early this month, a new warehouse was inaugurated in Vercelli, after another one was opened on September in Rieti. This rapid expansion comes as a result of the increase in revenue the company has experienced since 2010, when the Piacenza hub first opened, and raked in a €136 billion in profits last year.
A similar action has also been called in Germany by Verdi, where Amazon’s employees will also strike on Friday at six distribution centers in the country. This builds on short-term strike actions that have been going on since January 2016, when at least 500 workers refused to work for two days, demanding better working conditions and pay.
— AllgSyndikat Dresden (@FAU_Dresden) November 24, 2017
Black Friday represents a $1.5 billion business in Italy alone, according to business association Confesercenti. The Black Friday tradition nowadays encompasses the entire weekend, up to the ‘Cyber Monday’ online shopping frenzy. In monetary terms, the $1.5 billion business in Italy involves 14 million shoppers that consume more than $800 million just in online purchases.
image credit - Early films