Workers at several Amazon warehouses across Europe protested for better conditions on Black Friday, though the tech giant says it’s “business as usual” at its network of European distribution centers.
Reports of protests in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany percolated Friday morning, as the holiday shopping season kicked off. Unions seeking to put the spotlight on what they called “inhumane conditions” at Amazon warehouses organized the actions.
#Solidarity ✊️ with #Amazon🤖 workers on strike in #Germany #Spain #Italy from your brothers and sisters who are members of @GMB_union ✊️ #AmazonWeAreNotRobots #GMBUnion4Amazon ✊️ pic.twitter.com/sDGR8yEgT8
— GMBunion@Amazon (@GMBunionAmazon) November 23, 2018
Amazon said in a statement that its distribution network is all systems go on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
“Our European Fulfillment Network was fully operational today as our associates focused on delivering for our customers,” according to Amazon’s statement. “Any reports to the contrary are simply wrong. We respect the rights of groups and individuals to have their voice, but for us it was business as usual inside our Fulfillment Centres.”
Amazon disputed reports that upwards of 90 percent of workers at a warehouse in Spain walked off the job.
“The numbers released by the unions are categorically wrong. Today, the majority of our associates at Amazon’s Fulfillment Center in San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) are working and processing our customers’ orders, as they do every day, while we respect the rights of a group of associates to choose to go to strike.”
On Black Friday a year ago, Amazon workers in Germany and Italy walked off the job, demanding better wages.
Amazon said Friday it is a “fair and responsible employer.” The tech giant says it has created 75,000 jobs throughout Europe in the last eight years, and that it provides “good jobs with highly competitive pay, full benefits and innovative training programs.”
Black Friday remains one of Amazon’s biggest shopping days — even though it was eclipsed by the company’s own manufactured shopping bonanza Prime Day — and an important time for the retail industry as a whole. In the early hours of the day, e-commerce sales are up big across the U.S.
Adobe Analytics reports that Black Friday e-commerce spending across the U.S. topped $643 million as of 7 a.m. this morning, up 28 percent over a year ago.
After filling up on turkey Thanksgiving, people turned to their phones to start holiday shopping. Adobe reported $3.7 billion in U.S. e-commerce spending on Thanksgiving — up 28 percent over a year ago — including more than $1 billion from smartphone shoppers.