On one of the busiest shopping days of the year, employees of the American e-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN.O.) went on strike at many sites around Europe on Friday in protest of the company's working conditions.
Strikes and protests are planned in over 30 countries from Black Friday, the day following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, when many shops reduce prices to encourage sales, until Monday, according to the "Make Amazon Pay" campaign, which is organized by the UNI Global Union.
Black Friday, which was first popularised by lines forming outside large department stores in the United States, has spread around the world and increasingly moved online, thanks in part to Amazon, which is promoting holiday sales this year from November 17 to November 27.
Trade union Verdi estimated that some 2,000 workers went on strike across six Amazon fulfillment centers in Germany, which was Amazon's second-biggest market by sales last year.
It stated that some 250 workers—or roughly 20% of the workforce—had gone on strike at a warehouse in Leipzig and that 500 workers—or almost 40% of the workforce—had gone on strike at a warehouse in Rheinberg.
Only a small portion of employees went on strike, according to a German Amazon representative, and workers get fair pay, with an hourly starting rate of more than 14 euros ($15.27). Deliveries of Black Friday orders, according to the spokesperson, will be dependable and prompt.
In England, more than 200 workers were striking on Friday at Amazon's warehouse in Coventry as part of a long-running dispute over pay.
Amazon has remained popular in Europe even as rivals like Shein and Temu have seen rapid growth. Amazon's app had 146 million active users in Europe in October, compared to 64 million for Shein and 51 million for Temu, according to data.ai.