Report. Workers are rekindling their demand for reasonable working hours on the most important retail day for ecommerce platforms.

Italian unions call for a Black Friday strike against Amazon

A general strike of drivers and employees of the companies associated with Assoespressi, called by Filt Cgil, Fit Cisl and Uiltrasporti, will be organized on a strategic day for Amazon: November 26, Black Friday.

The call to block Black Friday is justified by the unions’ requests to lower workloads and work rhythms, which have become unsustainable, and to reduce the weekly working hours of drivers. Workloads can reach up to 200 packages delivered per day, with 130-140 stops to be made in 8-9 hours, based on an algorithm that updates the status of the packages on the PDA supplied to the drivers and which calculates the fastest journey according to traffic, without allowing breaks.

The weekly timetable reaches up to 44 hours, too many according to Filt Cgil and the other unions, which aim to cut them down to 42 for now, with the final objective of reaching 39.

The strike aims to obtain “employment continuity for all staff on the occasion of contractor and contract changes,” say the unions. The responsibility put on drivers in cases of damage and deductibles needs to be reduced, while increasing the remuneration for travel and introducing a result bonus.

Another point is to ensure compliance with the norms on privacy, data management and remote control, “excluding any repercussions of a disciplinary nature.” Amazon workers number approximately 12,000 in Italy. The revenue peak that is reached at the end of every year might involve another 3,000-4,000 seasonal workers called natalini, from the Italian word for Christmas.

In 2020 alone, during the second wave of the pandemic, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in its wake were the best ever for small and medium-sized businesses using Amazon’s digital platform. They experienced 60% sales growth over 2019, surpassing $4.8 billion globally. In Italy, 203 products were sold per minute.

The couriers “are hired by delivery service providers at the G1 level of the transport and logistics contract, with an entry level salary of €1,658 gross per month for full-time employees, and in addition to €300 net per month as a daily allowance,” came the unsympathetic reply from Amazon. “In the event that our expectations are not met and the norms in force are violated, we will adopt the remedies contractually provided, including the termination of the contractual relationship.”

The company added that “when these situations occur, we strive to ensure that the couriers from a service provider can still continue their work through the new supplier who will take over the contract to take care of deliveries.”

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