WHILE AMAZON is busy building hype for its upcoming Prime Day, staffers at a warehouse in the US are planning to strike during the mega-sale to demand safer working conditions and secure jobs.
The industrial action will take place on 15 July, the start of the Amazon's invented 48-hour Prime Day mega-sale, at a warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Around 100 employees are expected to walk out for a total of six hours to demand that more temporary staff be hired as permanent employees and in protest of Amazon's stringent quotas during that they say create unsafe working conditions.
Several Amazon engineers who have protested the company's inaction on climate change are planning to fly to Minnesota to support the striking warehouse employees.
Though the action follows Amazon's recent vow to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour following political pressure from Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, many staff have complained that the increase was not enough - especially since the firm was ridding of incentive pay and restricted stock unit grants.
"Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn't that wonderful," strike organiser and staff member William Stolz told Bloomberg.
"We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs."
Amazon told Bloomberg that 90 per cent of the staff at Shakopee were full-time Amazon employees and that last week it offered more than 30 temps permanent positions.
"The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for. We provide great employment opportunities with excellent pay - ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more," the firm added in a statement.
"We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country - and we invite anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility."
Given Amazon has more than 100 warehouses in the States, the strike is unlikely to affect logistics on Prime Day. It is, however, a bold move for the firm's US warehouse workers who, unlike Amazon staffers here in Europe, have never organised industrial action during one of the firm's made-up major shopping events.
It's hardly surprising how frustrated they've become, though; a report last year revealed that Amazon staffers have been forced to pee in bottles for fear of missing targets by taking toilet breaks. µ
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