According to a statement released on Thursday by the Fist-Cisl trade union, Amazon’s employees based in the distribution and logistic plant located in Castel San Giovanni, in Lombardy, will protest against long working hours and low salaries on Nov. 24.
Fist-Cisl general secretary Pierangelo Ranieri pointed out that the significant growth of the e-commerce business in Italy should push trade unions and companies to define a collective agreement guaranteeing employees sustainable working hours and adequate salaries.
Around 30 percent of the plant’s employees are expected to protest on Friday, according to Francesca Benedetti, general secretary of Fisascat-Cisl Piacenza, which announced the strike.
The trade union is also organizing a demonstration outside the Amazon plant where representatives of the labor union will be present to show their support to workers. “Employees need to feel protected because they worry about the company’s reactions,” Benedetti said.
She also added that “after a negotiation that lasted two years with Amazon, which did not take into account our requests nor did it provide any solution, it was the right time to debate issues such as health and safety conditions and revise the salaries. A public action of demand was necessary to raise awareness in the public opinion, as well.”
Benedetti argued that shift work is physically and psychologically consuming. Ninety percent of the 1,800 workers at the Castel San Giovanni Amazon logistic plant have permanent contracts for a 40-hour weekly working time and an average net salary of 1,250 euros.
“We asked for the introduction of variable salary that reflects production goals, thus enhancing the company’s – as well as the workers’ – performances,” said Benedetti. During its fiscal third quarter, the company showed a major jump in revenues to $43.7 billion, 34 percent higher than the corresponding period last year.
“We are focused on respecting our delivery schedule for Black Friday and the following days. We have always been committed to building a continuous dialogue, and cooperation with, our employees,” said Amazon.
Amazon also said its salaries are the most competitive within the logistics business and that it provides workers with several benefits, including discounts, private health insurance and paid, four-year training programs.