On 26 May, workers and trade unions around the world led a day of action targeting corporate giant Amazon. The UNI Global Union and Progressive International co-convened this ‘Make Amazon Pay’ campaign.
The fight between the world we have and the world we deserve
While many millions of people lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon grew rapidly. The online retailer employed hundreds of thousands more workers, and as of December 2020 was the fifth largest employer in the world. It currently has around 1.3 million employees globally. CEO Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, made history in 2020 as the first person ever to surpass a net worth of $200bn. Yet conditions for Amazon workers remain highly controversial.
Speaking about Bezos’s refusal to cooperate with an official European investigation into Amazon’s treatment of its workers, UNI Global Union’s Christy Hoffman said:
Amazon had $44 billion in sales in Europe and paid no corporate taxes. The fact that they are failing to appear to answer questions from duly elected members of the European Parliament is a slap in the face to Europe and reflects Amazon’s general contempt for democracy
Regarding the Make Amazon Pay campaign, meanwhile, she stressed:
ultimately, making Amazon pay is part of a much bigger fight to win another world. One in which global commercial circuits are geared not towards the wealth and power of billionaires and shareholders, but towards the health and happiness of the hard-working people who run it.
The Make Amazon Pay campaign website insists that “Amazon workers everywhere face abuse and exploitation”. The company violates workers’ dignity and privacy, it alleges, and its worksites are “unsafe”. It adds that:
Garment factory workers from Bangladesh to Cambodia demand that Amazon respects their right to organize and pays them the millions in unpaid compensation they are owed.
It also says workers around the world are sick of the company’s “union-busting tactics”.
Below are some videos, pictures and tweets in support of the #MakeAmazonPay campaign:
Solidarity! Today workers from @BIGUF16 @bcws1 & @bgiwf in Bangladesh stand in solidarity with workers at @amazon supplier Global Garments, whose factory was closed in a union-busting move, and with #Amazon supply chain workers all over the world. #MakeAmazonPay #PayYourWorkers pic.twitter.com/l5uCDUMizV— Clean Clothes (@cleanclothes) May 26, 2021
On the day of Amazon's shareholder meeting, the focus is primarily on the working conditions of female textile workers in the Amazon network in the global south. We must not let @Amazon get away with this. #MakeAmazonPay https://t.co/2C3TGzp7WE— Amazon Workers International (@AmazonWorkersIn) May 26, 2021
@etheconstiftung honors @JeffBezos with the #DeadPlanetAward on the day of the shareholder meeting. The award ceremony is currently taking place in front of the Amazon Europe HQ in Luxembourg – in the absence of the winner. 🏆🎖️📢 #makeamazonpay pic.twitter.com/9OInO44YgY— Amazon Workers International (@AmazonWorkersIn) May 26, 2021
The fight for justice at Amazon is a global fight. At every step of the supply chain, working people deserve safe, dignified jobs with a fair day’s pay for a good day’s work. #makeamazonpay #DeliverTheFuture pic.twitter.com/ZLFEq9ZLtq— APWU National (@APWUnational) May 26, 2021
Amazon employees in Japan are being treated unfairly and have formed a union to improve their work environment. The Amazon labor union in Japan will also work with Amazon unions around the world.#MakeAmazonPay #PayYourWorkers #Amazon pic.twitter.com/jfCwgRxWBy— Amazon労働組合 (@amazonunion2019) May 26, 2021
Main article image via screenshot