Black Friday Protest at 'Pandemic Profiteer' Amazon UK Over 'Abuse of Workers'

© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLSExtinction Rebellion protest outside Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury
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Trade unions and labour rights NGOs exposed dangerous workplace conditions and attacks on employees' rights at the global e-commerce giant — contrasting the workers' plight with company founder Jeff Bezos recent jaunt into space aboard his private rocket.
Trade unionists and labour rights campaigners have protested outside Amazon UK centres over an epidemic of workplace accidents in the run-up to Black Friday.

The GMB super-union called the online retail giant a "pandemic profiteer" and warned bosses they "can’t deny the facts about the inhumane working practices any longer".

The action was supported by British labour federation the Trades Union Congress, the International Transport Workers Federation, Labour Behind the Label and War on Want.
Demonstrations were held at Amazon's warehouses in Coalville, Leicestershire, Peterborough in Cambridgeshire and Coventry in Warwickshire, as well as that its UK headquarters in London.
Research by the GMB found that emergency ambulance call-outs to the company's facilities had soared by almost 50 per cent in the lead-up to the pre-Christmas sale weekend.
And it said workers further up the global supply chain were being abused through wage theft or facing job cuts.

"While most people enjoy their Black Friday bargains, Amazon workers are being pushed beyond the limits of human endurance", GMB national officer Mick Rix said. "Workers are breaking bones, being left in pain at the end of a shift, and even reportedly being burned by chemicals and getting barred from work for raising COVID complaints".

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“Whilst Jeff Bezos has made billions during the pandemic, garment workers in Amazon’s supply chain have experienced wage theft, job loss and a crackdown on labour rights", Labour behind the Label campaigns director Meg Lewis said.

"Bezos should focus on ensuring that the most vulnerable in supply chains do not suffer during the pandemic, instead he is off gallivanting in space", Lewis stressed. "Amazon’s influence, as the primary profit maker in international supply chains that span across multiple industries cannot be underestimated".
Amazon is making "astronomical profits" while its workers suffer "unsafe conditions, constant surveillance and are treated like robots", War on Want's senior economic justice campaigner Owen Espley said.

"Jeff Bezos wants to be seen as an innovator and an astronaut, but he’s nothing but a pandemic profiteer", he charged. "Amazon’s power must be brought down to earth".

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