'Strike Friday': Amazon hit by protests in Italy and Germany on Black Friday

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Hundreds of Amazon workers in Italy and Germany are striking on Black Friday, the busiest online shopping day of the year, disrupting the online retailer's plans.

Workers at the company's main distribution hub in Italy carried out their first ever strike, dubbing the day "Strike Friday". People are also striking at six warehouses in Germany.

Unions said more than 500 Amazon workers at the Piacenza site in northern Italy had agreed to strike following a failure to negotiate bonuses with the company. 

Amazon employs around 1,600 people on a permanent basis at the Piacenza site, the first it built in the country after launching its Italian website in 2010.

Luigi Giove, of the CGIL union, said workers were demanding shifts that were "not exhausting" and for Amazon to redistribute its profits.

 

The Verdi trade union in Germany said Amazon employees would also strike on Friday at six distribution centres in the country as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

"The world's biggest online retailer wants to achieve record sales on this day, but employees have to produce record performance not only on this day so that everything runs how Amazon wants it," said Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzenberger.

Amazon, which has often been criticised over the conditions in its warehouses, said it remained focused on trying to guarantee scheduled deliveries for its customers on Black Friday and in the following days.

 

The company said salaries paid to its workers were among the highest in the logistic sector and that it also provided some benefits such as private medical insurance or money to pay for training programmes.

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