The world’s first Amazon supply chain strike was a success, with an average adhesion of 70-75%, with peaks of 90%. It was better in the north and among the drivers, as Amazon Italy saw double the level of adhesion among the couriers (none of whom is a direct employee) compared to the employees in the warehouses, estimated at 20% against 10%.
If the meaning of a union is that of an “association for justice,” on Monday FILT CGIL, FIT CISL and UILT offered a masterful example of a return to the roots by bringing together the struggles of 40,000 employees in Italy, united by the fact that they are enriching the giant Jeff Bezos more and more.
While in the Amazon logo, the arrow goes from A to Z to signify that you can buy everything on the online site, on Monday the unions of the Italian transport industries turned the tables by uniting very different types of workers: the 9,000 permanent employees of Amazon Italy Logistics that work in the immense hubs and in the smallest stations that are scattered more and more along the Italian peninsula, another 9,000 temporary workers who are categorized in a manner that sidesteps labor laws; the approximately 1,500 subcontracted workers that completely manage the Amazon warehouses in some hubs, and—above all—the approximately 19,000 driver-couriers that have allowed us to continue an almost-normal life in the pandemic, delivering any kind of material good to our homes.
The 24-hour strike was decided after the collapse of the brief negotiation with Assoespressi, the union that brings together the many couriers who work exclusively for Amazon Italy, and which instead was limited to a superficial meeting with the unions. The unified union platform called for a reduction in work schedules and the unification of working conditions for all 40,000 workers in the supply chain.
The most attended demonstrations took place in Genoa, Piacenza, Bologna and Milan, with the participation of the secretaries of the three unions, Luca Stanzione, Giovanni Abimelech and Antonio Albrizio.
“It was a protest that was successful even beyond our expectations,” explained FILT CGIL, FIT CISL and UILT, “considering that many workers feel “blackmailable” because they have atypical contracts and, as a result, saw the protest as a risk to their precarious jobs.
Let us reiterate the reasons for the protest: Amazon has become enormously rich thanks to the boom of online commerce in times of the pandemic, and it is right that it should redistribute part of this wealth in terms of rights to its employees. To date, the company has always refused to discuss with the unions the shifts, loads and work rhythms imposed, the reduction of working hours of drivers, the social clause and continuity of employment for all in case of change of contract or change of supplier, the stabilization of temporary and short-term workers and compliance with health and safety regulations. FILT CGIL, FIT CISL and UILT conclude: “We expect to be called from Amazon in a very short time, so as not to be forced to continue the protest.”
“It is the first case in the world in which the entire supply chain, from warehouses to couriers, takes part in the mobilization,” said the deputy secretary of the PD Peppe Provenzano, giving assurance that his party “is ready to meet them to listen to their reasons and defend the rights of labor in the era of the algorithm.”
Rossella Accoto, M5S senator and undersecretary for Labor and the Social Policies, struck a similar note, saying that she wished for “a deepened dialogue between Amazon and unions in order to coordinate the guidelines of the future in view of the already-planned opening of new logistic poles.”
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.