Workers worldwide hold ‘Make Amazon Pay’ protests on Black Friday

National News

(Courtesy of Make Amazon Pay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the biggest shopping day of the entire year goes full steam ahead, Amazon workers and other workers’ rights groups are protesting retail giant Amazon.

On Friday morning, #MakeAmazonPay shot to the top of Twitter’s Trending board, as workers and groups worldwide protested Amazon and its owner, Jeff Bezos, who recently became the richest person in history.

Workers in 15 countries planned to take action, according to Business Insider. Workers in seven warehouses in Germany have already participated in a strike, as have garment workers at an Amazon supplier facility in Dhaka.

Other protests are planned to be held in the U.S., Mexico, Spain and Australia. Meanwhile, in the U.K., the GMB workers union projected “Make Amazon Pay” on the side of the company’s London headquarters.

In August, Bezos passed Bill Gates, becoming the first person worth over $200 billion. Meanwhile, Amazon paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2018 and received a $129 million tax rebate in 2019.

The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, reported that Amazon experienced record profits so far in 2020 (as did most retail companies during the pandemic).

But Amazon profits saw a 53% increase, the most of any of the retail giants. But according to data, employee pay starts at around $15, bonuses are not regular, and total estimated COVID-19 compensation for workers is around $1,369.

All of these factors were placed under an even larger spotlight as the pandemic forced factory workers and deliverers into essential worker roles. Since the pandemic, workers have only received about a 6% increase in wages.

“…Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and faced threats and intimidation if they spoke out for their rights to a fair wage,” Make Amazon Pay’s statement reads.

Amazon has faced criticism and backlash for its compensation and treatment of its workers. Amazon spokesperson Rachel Lighty responded to the Brookings study, calling it “flawed” and inaccurate of Amazon’s treatment of employees.

Make Amazon Pay’s statement concludes, saying: “The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet. Amazon takes too much and gives back too little… it’s time to Make Amazon Pay.”

On Thanksgiving, Amazon announced it would be giving frontline workers a $300 “special recognition bonus.”


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