France’s Amazon strike puts pressure on Santa

A major French trade union has called on Amazon workers to go on strike on Monday to demand a salary hike and better working conditions, a decision likely to have an effect on anyone in France hoping to buy last minute Christmas gifts on the online shopping portal.

France's Amazon strike puts pressure on Santa
Amazon workers in the company warehouses in France “walk up to 22 kilometres a day according to calculations with a pedometer”. Photo: Andrew Yates/AFP

Amazon employees in four warehouses in France could join a strike on Monday morning called by national trade union CGT in a bid to raise the workers’ “current gross salary of €1611 ($1974) to more than €1700”.

Their demands also include a less strenuous work routine, as CGT delegate Alain Jeault told French daily Le Parisien Amazon workers in the 42,000 m² warehouse in Sevrey, eastern France, “walk up to 22 kilometres a day according to calculations with a pedometer”.

The work pace is also a reason for concern for Jeault: “Stock-controllers wrap between 250 and 450 parcels an hour.

“We beat our record on December 4th with one million packages wrapped in a single day.”

Although Amazon claims the strike won't affect business, Sebastien Boisonnet, another CGT delegate, told Radio France International the walk-away would hamper deliveries and damage the internet shopping giant’s reputation.

France’s Amazon workers are following in the footsteps of their German counterparts, who have gone on strike twice in December over the same work issues, a move which has actually caused a surge in orders to the warehouses in France.

“We don’t want to punish customers just before Christmas,” Jeault argues.

“We only want to bring Amazon’s board of directors to the negotiating table to discuss wages, work breaks and conditions.”

CGT representatives are also condemning that half of the 4,700 Amazon employees in France are on temporary contracts, forcing them to “get by during sale periods” and “constantly adapt”.

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