On the busiest shopping days of this year, thousands of Amazon workers chose it was a day to walk off the job. Warehouse workers in distribution facilities in Italy and Germany took the day off to demand higher wages and better therapy. In sharp contrast, on precisely the same day, the net worth of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos hovered around $100 billion, easily making him the richest person on the planet.
New York Daily News reported roughly 2,500 German workers demonstrated outside Amazon centers in the cities of Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben, Rheinberg, Werne, and Koblenz. Along with asking for a pay increase, the German union Ver.di says Amazon needs to vastly improve the "work culture" and stop pushing employees too challenging.
The Italian Amazon employees that participated in the Black Friday attack stated they want "dignified salaries" more by their jobs. They assembled outside one supply center located in Piacenza.
"Work isn't a commodity," said Annamaria Furlan, the secretary general of the union CISL, which represents Amazon workers in Italy, as mentioned by a TechCrunch report. "The dignity of employees should not be trampled on."
Even with numerous Amazon employees out, the supply facilities in both Germany and Italy were running business as usual. An Amazon representative advised TechCrunch that vacation orders will be sent out without any notice of delay, adding that a substantial number of employees didn't participate in the strike and also showed up for work.
The Amazon spokesperson was quick to point out that the online merchant is a "good company" and continues to be instrumental in creating jobs in regions, such as Italy, where the unemployment rate stays high. Also, Amazon argues that its employees already earn higher salary when compared to other people in the business. It is uncertain as striking employees have since gone back to work when the retail giant is negotiating with the unions.
At present, Germany is currently Amazon's second largest market with $14.2 billion in annual earnings, especially less than the $90 billion in sales generated by U.S. customers. By comparison, Italy is the fourth largest market, behind the UK and France.
While Amazon employees went on strike for more cash, CEO Jeff Bezos enjoyed an estimated net value of $100 billion as Black Friday sales pushed the organization's stock price up. According to Fortune, this 12-figure net value makes Bezos the world's wealthiest person. After departure Bill Gates he earned the prestigious name in October.