Amazon counters those claims, touting itself as a "fair and responsible employer" with "safe and positive" working conditions.
Reports of protests in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany percolated Friday morning, as the holiday shopping season kicked off. Unions seeking to put the spotlight on what they called "inhumane conditions" at Amazon warehouses organized the actions.
A striking worker stands outside the entrance of an Amazon fulfillment centre in San Fernando de Henares, Spain, on November 23, 2018.
"All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong", Amazon said.
The deals presented in various Black Friday sales can easily be blinding, saving incredible amounts of cash on tech, clothing and various other bits and bobs that would otherwise go overlooked.
But on Friday, the GMB union insisted that Amazon warehouses are unsafe and implored Amazon to improve conditions.
Protesters are demonstrating outside Peterborough's Amazon fulfilment centre today to highlight concerns about working conditions. To get the CEO to understand they released a video telling him "we are not robots" in 5 langauges. Their message: "We are not robots". And in Spain, one employee told The Associated Press that the walkout was deliberately timed for "one of the days that Amazon has most sales". These are people making Amazon its money. "Because the company has not listened to us and does not want to reach any agreement".
"We are entering the end of year spurt, the most stressful time for employees", said Verdi representative Mechthild Middeke. "These are good jobs with highly competitive pay, full benefits, and innovative training programs".
Adobe Analytics reports that Black Friday e-commerce spending across the USA topped $643 million as of 7 a.m. this morning, up 28 percent over a year ago.
On Black Friday a year ago, Amazon workers in Germany and Italy walked off the job, demanding better wages. According to the UK Government's Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40 per cent fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in the UK.