UK Amazon Staff Plan Black Friday Protests

By Gary Cutlack on at

Amazon factory humans allied with the GMB union are staging a series of protests on the retailer's biggest day of the year, with packaging staff set to stage a walkout on Black Friday, the holiest of all days in the internet shopping calendar.

The protest is about – you guessed it – working conditions, with GMB saying it's collected plenty of reports of "inhuman conditions" being endured by Amazon warehouse staff across its UK division, including complaints of people being made to stuff things in boxes while being in "constant agony" due to workplace strains, there being little or no time scheduled in the working day to visit the toilet, plus it says ambulances have been called out to attend accidents and injuries at Amazon warehouses on 600 separate occasions over the last three years.

The GMB is therefore calling its members out on Black Friday, with employees based at its distribution centres in Milton Keynes, Swansea, Rugeley, Peterborough and Warrington expected to down the dispensers of that awful thick sellotape and stage protests outside the gates.

Tim Roache from the GMB said: "Jeff Bezos is the richest bloke on the planet; he can afford to sort this out. You'd think making the workplace safer so people aren't carted out of the warehouse in an ambulance is in everyone's interest, but Amazon seemingly have no will to get round the table with us as the union representing hundreds of their staff."

Update: An Amazon spokesperon got in touch with a statement claiming that Amazon is actually a very good place to work - regardless of what the protesters may say:

“Amazon has created in the UK more than 25,000 good jobs with a minimum of £9.50/hour and in the London area, £10.50/hour on top of industry-leading benefits and skills training opportunities.

All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong. According to the UK Government’s Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40% fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in the UK. We encourage everyone to compare our pay, benefits, and working conditions to others and come see for yourself on one of the public tours we offer every day at our centres across the UK uk.amazonfctours.com.”

[GMB via PC Mag]