Amazon Spain faces worker protests at the gates of Black Friday

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Four years ago some Amazon logistics centers in Spain were a powder keg. The unions called strikes that achieved majority support in a context of complaints about worsening conditions. Now the tensions return with the call for a concentration at the doors of the Amazon offices in the center of Madrid in the middle of Black Friday.

The concentration, summoned by the Union of Base Commissions and by the CGT, has the origin of its protest in the claim for a salary increase according to the CPI for warehouse personnel, whose salary increased 1% in 2021 and 1.75% in 2022, as set by the sectoral agreement. Together with the unions, this concentration is also part of the initiative of the centers of Alcalá de Henares, Getafe and Illescas (Toledo).

14% estimated loss of purchasing power

The claim of the unions is that the increase, in addition to being equated to the CPI, be retroactive “so as not to lose purchasing power.” Inflation has moved from the summer to today between 7% and 11%. The unions estimate the cumulative loss of purchasing power by the end of the year at 14%.

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Pamphlet delivered by the conveners of the concentration.

This request has been systematically answered with a negative by the management, arguing that it has not been approved by the central management. From the unions they slip that they have evidence that senior managers and intermediate managers have received a salary increase of 7%.

The claim coincides with a somewhat difficult time for Amazon: it has just announced 10,000 layoffs for its workforce, less than 1% of its workforce, although focused on technological and corporate positions, not retail.

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In Spain, the recent symptoms were not good: delayed openings of new centers, a decrease in the volume of work and some closures of logistics centers in a context of restructuring.

“Although they have already said that there will be no layoffs in warehouses, the situation is becoming tense, there is pressure on the worker,” says a warehouse employee at one of the Madrid logistics centers. “For example, with downtime. They are the times when you are not working effectively, such as going to the bathroom. With that, they do not press in such an exaggerated way that some media have said, but if they see that you have spent half an hour in these dead times call your attention. The problem is that sometimes the dead times are to resolve an incident, such as a scanner gun that has broken down, or to go to a superior for some process”.

Another warehouse worker and former inventory manager at another Madrid center adds that the pressure is on the casualties. “Absenteeism is between 15% and 20%, it’s very high. The pressure is now out there. As soon as you’re absent, if you have to submit a leave, they give you 24 hours, but the legal term is 72 hours. If you do not meet your deadline, it is considered a minor offense that implies a day of suspension of employment and salary.

They both speak of these “tensions”. The context, the one we already know. There are no announced plans to start layoffs, but a restructuring that is taking shape little by little and of which we know some future steps. In the center of Alcalá de Henares, for example, they work three shifts, 24 hours a day. Starting in January, the night shift will no longer be done.

Since xataka We have contacted Amazon Spain to obtain their reply to the claims of the conveners of the concentration, to which they have responded with the following statement:

Amazon employees work in a modern and safe environment, with competitive wages and benefits. Amazon applies the provincial logistics agreements, which in many cases already establish the salary according to the CPI.

The minimum entry salary for our most basic positions in Madrid and Barcelona is more than 1,750 euros per month, which is 45% more than the minimum salary. We also offer other extras, such as salary increases in addition to the agreement based on seniority, private health insurance, private pension plan and training funds.
We have also just announced an extraordinary one-time payment of up to €500 gross to our frontline operations employees to thank them for the work they do every day during the Christmas campaign.

Four years ago some Amazon logistics centers in Spain were a powder keg. The unions called strikes that achieved majority…

Four years ago some Amazon logistics centers in Spain were a powder keg. The unions called strikes that achieved majority…

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