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Italian Amazon workers union set to strike

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Italian Amazon workers union set to strike

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Photo: La Nazione

A 24-hour strike by Amazon’s Italian logistics workforce is scheduled to begin today.

Unions had previously been negotiating with Assoespressi, a business and lobby group, to revise worker contracts, including benefits and working hours. Talks broke down due to Assoepressi’s “unwillingness to positively address” worker’s demands, leading to today’s strike. Workers also blamed Amazon for being unwilling to engage in discussions, an allegation it denies.

While Amazon has experienced localised strikes in Italy over the past year, including by drivers in Vigonza in February, today’s strike is the first to collectively affect Amazon’s entire Italian logistics operation. It will involve warehouses, logistics hubs and external delivery service providers.

Expect Amazon to acquiesce to select demands, such as results-linked bonuses and working hour limits, if it wishes to continue expanding in Italy. It has invested nearly £5 billion over the past decade, including £197 million towards two new logistics centers opening this year, and the company needs union support to continue at its current growth rate. Amazon’s response will serve as a litmus test—as the third-largest EU economy, a successful Italian strike could embolden Amazon workers in other EU states to demand better working conditions, especially as some European countries enter another period of COVID-19 confinement.

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