Some workers at Amazon fulfillment centers in both Italy and Germany have gone on strike, according to a new report, as the all-important holiday shopping season kicks off.
Reuters reports that more than 500 workers at a facility in northern Italy announced plans to strike after they couldn’t come to an agreement with Amazon over bonuses. In Germany, workers at six facilities went on strike earlier this week as part of a long-running disagreement pay and working conditions.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment on the issue. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that “the vast majority of our employees in Italy and Germany came to work and remained focused on delivering the best customer experience. We are proud of our record of job creation and are confident we will deliver for our customers this holiday season. Amazon is a good employer. We are committed to ensuring a fair cooperation with all our employees, granting valuable working conditions and a caring and inclusive environment in all our workplaces.”
This isn’t the first time Amazon has dealt with labor issues during the holiday shopping season. Last year, a group of pilots contracted to deliver packages for the retail giant walked off the job to protest short-staffing practices at their companies. They were later ordered by a court to return to work, but the pilots continued to warn Amazon of delayed holiday deliveries due to short-staffing issues.
The holiday season is crucial for all retailers, and Amazon is no exception. A GeekWire analysis of Amazon’s shipping costs found that the e-commerce giant has shelled out more than $14 billion on shipping in the first nine months of this year, up 36 percent from the same period last year. If the trend continues, Amazon could easily spend another $7 billion, if not more, on shipping in the holiday quarter — a record sum that reflects the ongoing shift toward e-commerce and away from traditional stores.
Amazon said Thursday that U.S. mobile app orders on Thanksgiving were up 50 percent over last Thanksgiving. That trend could continue into Black Friday this morning, where Amazon said it sold more than 64 million items last year, and Cyber Monday. Amazon now describes the five shopping days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday the “Turkey 5.”