Solidarity with Italy’s Amazon logistics workers striking for fair working conditions

22 Mar 2021

Today, Italian unions are making history. For the first time, Amazon’s ENTIRE logistics chain is on strike in Italy for 24 hours.

The reason? Amazon is outright refusing to negotiate a supply chain collective bargaining agreement that would also cover their subcontractors.

This collective bargaining agreement would harmonise the entire supply chain’s working conditions and protect them from abuse.

So why is Amazon saying no? According to them, Subcontractors – external providers for delivery services – shouldn’t be covered by a company CBA.

But we all know the real reason: Amazon simply doesn’t want to take responsibility for the long list of abuse – and subcontracting is exactly where a lot of the abuse happens.

Unions have reported precarious work, obsessive checks on workers, unsustainable shifts, poor pay, lack of health and safety protocols, demands for increased productivity – no time to even go to the toilet

Their demands around unsustainable workload and shifts, contract conditions, salaries, bonuses, health and safety protocols, continuity of employment in the event of a change of contract are valid and must be heard.

Amazon cannot run away from unions and workers’ legitimate demands – they must take responsibility.

A point Livia Spera emphasised when addressing Amazon in a video message:

“You (Amazon) are ENTIRELY responsible for your business! So start taking responsibility for the long list of abuse that happens because of the way YOU do business! Start listening to unions! Start negotiating with them! Because we are here to stay.  And your anti-union tactics don’t scare us!”

This isn’t the first time Amazon workers are fighting back – last year, staff working in a delivery station went on strike over lack of safety measures during the pandemic – and in February, Vigonza warehouse workers went on strike over poor pay and working conditions.

So it should come as no surprise that this time their whole logistics chain in Italy is striking in protest.

The issue is widespread in Europe. In Austria, back in February 2020, a large-scale raid of subcontracted transport companies picking up and delivering goods from an Amazon distribution centre revealed violations of labour legislations and bogus self-employment – this led to 185,000 dollars worth of sanctions with Austrian union vida calling for Amazon to start taking responsibility

Amazon needs to wake up and face reality. Unions are here to stay and they will continue to call out unfair practices and demand better and fair working conditions for the workers they represent!

Amazon functions because workers work. So they must adjust their way of doing business now to factor this in.

The ETF will act in Solidarity with Amazon’s logistics workers in Italy!