Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Madrid’s Amazon Workers Strike Over Rights and Wages

Amazon workers in the Spanish State are fed up and ready to fight. Last night at 10 p.m., 95% of the workforce in the largest logistics center in the country owned by Amazon have walked off the job to protest against planned wage cuts.

Sonja Krieger

March 21, 2018
Facebook Twitter Share

Last week, 75% of the workers voted for a 24-hour strike in response to Amazon’s efforts to make life harder for its employees. The workers also called for a boycott of Amazon products from March 14-22 in order to affect Father’s Day, which was on March 19.

Now, almost all of the close to 2,000 full-timers (1,100) and temporary workers (900) at the San Fernando de Henares center in suburban Madrid are on strike. While there have been similar actions organized recently by Amazon workers in France, Italy, and Germany, this is the first strike at Amazon in the Spanish State.

Several unions (CCOO, CGT, UGT, and CSIT) called the strike after Amazon decided to replace the current contract with a new contract (the provincial agreement for the logistics sector) that would involve cuts to overtime pay as well as a pay reduction for night shifts and work on holidays, a considerable cut in sick pay, a total elimination of seniority-based wage increases, and lower general wage increases that do not even keep up with inflation.

The workers are facing massive intimidation from the bosses. There are reports that Human Resources is having individual meetings with workers to ask them if they will be striking and telling them they will have to be on call next weekend to work 9-18 hours on their day off. But the workers are not deterred. At 5:30 a.m., there were pickets to stop trucks from leaving, and a rally was held at noon.

In order to diminish the effects of the strike, Amazon began diverting packages to neighboring countries. However, workers across Europe have shown support for the strike. In Poland and Germany, Amazon workers sent solidarity. In Germany, the largest warehouses announced that they will engage in a work stoppage in solidarity with the workers in the Spanish State.

Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest person with a personal net worth of over $100 billion, accumulated through the sweat and hardship of Amazon workers. A worker at the San Fernando de Hanares warehouse now makes between $25,000 and $26,000 (€20,000-21,000) per year and has not seen an increase in pay since 2016. Bezos and his company want to reduce that by €1000-2000.The working conditions at Amazon in Europe and the U.S. are already nothing short of torturous or even murderous.

Workers are expected to package products at insane speeds, lift heavy items, and meet unrealistic quotas while being constantly monitored. Perpetual exhaustion and overwork are apparently what Amazon means when it boasts that it offers “attractive jobs.”

Various reports have revealed that bathroom breaks are too short, workers are discouraged from sitting down during ten-hour shifts, and there is little or no natural light in the centers. An article published in November of 2017 quotes a worker in Essex, UK saying, “Two half-hour breaks were the only time off my feet, but it was barely enough time to race to the canteen and wolf down some food to keep my energy up.”

According to the undercover investigator who wrote the piece, some workers sleep outside near the warehouse in order to make it to work on time, and almost everybody suffers regular physical injuries and acute anxiety.

This is what capitalism looks like. Amazon will not change their barbarous practices on its own, and neither will any other capitalist enterprise. The only way for workers to fight against this exploitation is to stand up, stop working, and demand their rights.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sonja Krieger

Sonja has been an editor and writer for Left Voice since 2016. She teaches college students and is an active AFT member.

Europe

Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi and Giorgia Meloni at the centre-right coalition's closing rally in Italy.

Right-Wing Coalition Wins Italian Elections amid Record-Low Turnout

Amid record-low turnout, Italy’s right-wing coalition won in the country’s snap election this weekend. Ultra-right-wing politician Giorgia Meloni is now set to be the new prime minister. But forming a stable government that lasts five years will be difficult.

Giacomo Turci

September 27, 2022
A postal workers' strike outside Mount Pleasant Royal Mail sorting office in London on August 26, 2022

Britain in Strike Fever after Queen’s State Funeral

After the state funeral of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom, several sectors are preparing to strike on October 1. The coming workers’ struggles and the fight against the anti-union laws will be a key moment of class struggle in Britain.

Dan Kedem

September 27, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via video link at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia September 23, 2022.

With Mobilization of Reservists and Nuclear Threats, Putin Prepares for Prolonged War

Russian President Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists and raised the threat of nuclear war. The move exposes the political interests behind the war in Ukraine and their geopolitical prospects.

Claudia Cinatti

September 26, 2022
Russian protester being arrested by Russian police.

Mass Arrests in Russia during Nationwide Anti-War Mobilizations

Nationwide protests were called in Russia on Saturday against the war and against Putin’s recent announcement to mobilize reservists. Demonstrators were met with mass arrests.

MOST RECENT

All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Elections in Brazil

In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the upcoming general elections in Brazil, including Bolsonaro’s legacy, what a Lula presidency would look like, and what the tasks are for the Left going forward.

Left Voice

September 27, 2022
Iranian women and some men protest while holding images of a woman who was killed in police custody.

Support the Protests in Iran by Opposing Sanctions

Feminists in Iran are waging a powerful struggle against the Iranian regime. Leftists in the U.S. can support the protests by opposing sanctions, which disproportionately harm Iranian women and workers.

Sam Carliner

September 26, 2022
Woman holds a yellow sign that says "Nueva constitucion" in black text and another person is holding a yellow sign behind her that reads "No violencia clasista"

‘Boric Has Strengthened the Right-Wing Opposition’: Interview with a Chilean Socialist

In Chile, the illusion of winning the battle against neoliberalism in parliament has been shattered. We interviewed Chilean socialist Dauno Totoro about the recent rejection of a proposed constitution and the need to fight for a revolutionary, internationalist, and socialist Left.

Left Voice

September 25, 2022
Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni gives a speech, an Italian flag covers the podium

Elections in Italy amid Political Crisis: Interview with an Italian Socialist

The right wing is expected to win in Italy’s snap elections on Sunday. An Italian socialist explains the origins of the current political crisis, the rise of the right wing, and the tasks for the Left.

Left Voice

September 21, 2022