Amazon workers are on strike in Italy over working conditions
A man holds a FIT-CISL flag outside a distribution center during a strike at Amazon’s logistics operations in Italy on March 22, 2021 in Passo Corese, Italy.
Remo Casilli | Reuters
Amazon’s warehouse and delivery workers have gone on strike in Italy to raise concerns about working conditions.
The 24-hour strike is taking place in several Amazon camps in Italy, including Tuscany, Florence and Pisa. The unions FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti said this is the first national strike to affect all of Amazon’s logistics in Italy.
The strike comes as tensions between Amazon and its frontline workers in Europe and the US have increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouse workers in Italy and other parts of Europe went on strike last year to ask Amazon to implement greater coronavirus security measures. Workers in the US also took part in strikes and protests last year to highlight similar concerns.
Additionally, warehouse workers at the Amazon plant in Bessemer, Alabama, known as BHM1, are currently voting on whether to join the retail, wholesale and department stores union. The unions have a stronger hold among some of Amazon’s European employees, but Amazon has managed to stop organizing efforts in the US
FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti called on strike after they said negotiations were with Assoespressi, an employers’ association that represents last mile and e-commerce couriers, including some of Amazon’s third-party delivery companies in Italy failed.
Workers and unions call on Amazon and Assoespressi to hold discussions about shifts, work pace, job security when changing contracts, fewer working hours for drivers and more job stability for temporary workers, among other things. They are also calling for access to a “Covid allowance for operations under constant pandemic conditions”.
Salvatore Pellecchia, general secretary of FIT-CISL, told CNBC in a statement that 75% of Amazon workers in Italy took part in the strike on Monday. He added that the union expected a lower turnout as many of the participants were contract workers who felt their jobs could be jeopardized in the event of a strike.
“If Amazon does not change its position, we will be forced to organize another strike,” Pellecchia said in a statement. “Amazon has seen tremendous growth in sales and profits thanks to the pandemic and needs to speak to us now to give its employees what they are waiting for.”
Stuart Jackson, director of communications for Amazon’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told CNBC: “The fact is, Amazon and our Italian network of independent delivery services already offer what these groups are asking for – great pay, Great benefits and opportunities for professional growth while working in a safe, modern work environment. The unions know that. “
FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comments.