Workers at the main logistics hub of Amazon in Italy have refused to work overtime in the course of the holiday season. The workers have also reduced shifts by two hours even as they continue their protests. According to Fiorenzo Molinari, the leader of the workers’ union, the status quo will be maintained, including the overtime ban, until the last day of this year. The way forward will be decided by the workers after the end of the peak shopping season.
In Italy and other countries in Europe including Germany, the online retail giant has long been accused by unions of underpaying and overworking its warehouse staff. Online sales in Italy are half the continent’s average but unions are pressing for better pay for the workers in the wake of rising profits at a time when e-commerce is growing in the country.
A month ago, Amazon workers refused to work on Black Friday, which is a busy day for online retailers. The workers were demanding bonus payments as well as more control over the allocation of shifts. After the strike officials from the labor ministry in Italy to were sent to conduct an inspection of the working conditions at the Amazon facility. The industrial action however only relates to permanent employees. At peak times such as the festive season Amazon hires extra temporary workers.
According to Amazon its logistics workers enjoy one of the highest pay levels in the sector. The giant online retailer also offers benefits that include private medical insurance as well as funding for training programs.
“At Amazon, we are committed to ensuring a fair cooperation with all our employees, granting valuable working conditions and a caring and inclusive environment in all our workplaces,” said a spokesperson for Amazon.
Dominance in e-commerce
This comes in the wake of a study conducted by CNBC indicating that majority of shoppers in the United States will order from Amazon during the festive season. Among the consumers who are going to do their shopping online, 76% of them will choose the Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant.
This year the number of respondents who are turning to e-commerce for their holiday shopping has increased to 45% from 40% last year. Trailing Amazon as an e-commerce destination is Walmart which has a market share of 8%.
Among the factors which have been attributed to the dominance of Amazon includes is impressive conversion rate. Of all those who conduct searches on Amazon about 57% end up making a purchase.