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Amazon workers go on strike in Italy over labor conditions


A man holds a FIT-CISL flag outside a distribution centre during a strike at Amazon’s logistics operations in Italy, in Passo Corese, Italy March 22, 2021.

Remo Casilli | Reuters

Amazon warehouse and delivery employees have gone on strike in Italy to raise concerns around working conditions.

The 24-hour strike is taking place at several Amazon warehouses in Italy, including in Tuscany, Florence and Pisa. Trade unions FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti said it’s the first national strike to affect Amazon’s entire logistics operations in Italy.

The strike comes as tensions have grown between Amazon and its frontline workforce in Europe and the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouse workers in Italy and other parts of Europe went on strike last year to call on Amazon to implement greater coronavirus safety measures. Workers across the U.S. also participated in walkouts and protests last year to highlight similar concerns.

Additionally, warehouse workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, facility, known as BHM1, are currently voting on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Unions have a stronger foothold among some of Amazon’s European workforce, but Amazon has managed to head off organizing efforts in the U.S.

FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti called the strike after they said negotiations broke down with Assoespressi, an employer association representing last-mile and e-commerce couriers, including some of Amazon’s third-party delivery firms in Italy.

Workers and the unions are calling on Amazon and Assoespressi to make changes to workloads, shifts and benefits. They’re also calling for access to a “Covid allowance for operations in constant pandemic conditions.”

Stuart Jackson, communications director for Amazon’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, told CNBC in a statement: “The fact is, Amazon and our Italian network of independent delivery service providers already offer what these groups are asking for — excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. The unions know this.”

Representatives from FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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