A man holds a FIT-CISL flag outside a distribution center during a strike at Amazon’s logistics operations in Italy, in Passo Corese, Italy, on March 22, 2021.
Remo Casilli | Reuters
Amazon warehouse and delivery workers went on strike in Italy to raise concerns about working conditions.
The 24-hour strike is taking place at several Amazon warehouses in Italy, including Tuscany, Florence and Pisa. Trade unions FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti said it was the first national strike to affect Amazon’s entire logistics operations in Italy.
The strike comes as tensions between Amazon and its frontline staff in Europe and the US escalate amid the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouse workers in Italy and other parts of Europe went on strike last year to urge Amazon to introduce greater coronavirus security measures. Workers across the U.S. also took part in marches and protests last year to highlight similar concerns.
In addition, warehouse workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama facility, known as BHM1, are currently voting on whether they want to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store unions. Trade unions have a stronger foothold among some of Amazon’s European employees, but Amazon has managed to thwart the organizational efforts in the US.
FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti called for strike after they said negotiations have been broken off with Assoespressi, an employers’ association representing the last mile and e-commerce couriers, including some of Amazon’s third-party delivery companies in Italy.
Workers and the unions appeal Amazon and Assoespressi are among others about shifts, the pace of work, job security when contracts change, less working hours for managers and more job stability for temporary workers, among others. They are also asking for access to a “Covid grant for operations in constant pandemic conditions.”
Salvatore Pellecchia, general secretary of FIT-CISL, said in a statement to OilGasJobz that 75% of Amazon workers in Italy took part in the strike on Monday. He added that the union expects a lower turnout because many of the participants are temporary workers who feel their jobs could be at risk if they strike.
“If Amazon does not change its position, we will be forced to arrange another strike,” Pellecchia said in a statement. “Amazon has recorded a huge increase in revenue and profits thanks to the pandemic, and now needs to talk to us to give its employee what they are waiting for.”
Amazon disputes FIT-CISL’s claim that a significant percentage of its workers in Italy took part in the strike. Less than 10% of Amazon’s 9,500 employees took part in the action, Stuart Jackson, communications director of Amazon’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told OilGasJobz in a statement.
“The fact is that Amazon and our Italian network of independent delivery service providers already offer what these groups are asking for – excellent pay, great benefits and great career growth opportunities while working in a safe, modern work environment,” Jackson said. . “The unions know it.”
Representatives of FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti did not immediately respond to requests for comment.