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In addition to European strikes, Amazon is experiencing consumer boycotts on the company and its many subsidiaries, such as Twitch and Whole Foods. Many consumers are also protesting the company, brandishing anti-Amazon stickers and signs.

Amazon in distress
© 360b / Shutterstock.com

Anyone who’s anyone knows there are great deals to be had with Amazon on Prime Day – if you happen to be a Prime subscriber. That is except for the 1,800 workers that went on strike in Spain on Monday, trying to fight pay cuts and restrictions on their time off. Adding to their numbers, Amazon employees in Poland, Germany, Italy, France and England are joining the call for a transnational strike on Amazon’s most lucrative promotion day. This and more is all over the Internet and compiled by WIRED, who went on to say the unions representing warehouse workers involved in the strike are Verdi services union in Germany and Comisiones Obreras in Spain.

Prime Rip

For Amazon, the Prime Day extravaganza lasts for 36 hours – a full 12 hours longer than an actual day. German workers are expected to walk out on Tuesday. In a press release by Verdi, they say Amazon workers have been struggling for years with health problems from severe physical and mental stress, as well as monotonous work. "Amazon has neglected this responsibility for years and denied its people the right to set rules in a collective agreement,” wrote spokesperson Stefanie Nutzberger.

Amazon Employees in Europe, where (to reiterate) working conditions are very different from those in the US, have used strikes as bargaining tools for better working conditions around the holidays in the past.

Website Outages

As if this wasn’t enough to give Jeff a headache, portions of the Amazon website experienced outages in many parts of the US in the early hours of the promotion on Monday. This was reported by downdetector.com, which tracks outages.

What Amazon Had To Say

Amazon actually made a statement to WIRED about all of the complaints from their workers:

“Amazon is a fair and responsible employer and as such we are committed to dialogue, which is an inseparable part of our culture. We are committed to ensuring a fair cooperation with all our employees, including positive working conditions and a caring and inclusive environment.” Amazon went on to say that it has provided “a safe and positive workplace with competitive pay and benefits from day one.”

Regarding the website outages: "Some customers are having difficulty shopping, and we’re working to resolve this issue quickly. Many are shopping successfully—in the first hour of Prime Day in the US, customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year."

What Amazon Will Earn Anyway

In 2017, Prime subscriptions for Prime and other services like e-books and digital video account for $9.7 billion in revenue, or about 5% of Amazon's $178 billion in annual revenue. It has been estimated by Bloomberg Intelligence that Amazon would make around $3 billion in sales with Prime Day. That’s not pure profit – some of that estimate comes from sales by outside merchants selling on Amazon. 

Consumer Boycott

On 10 July, a consumer boycott began, organised on Twitter with the hashtag #amazonstrike. The Game Workers Unite International, which is a grassroots group trying to unionise the gaming industry, said they are boycotting Twitch, the popular gaming platform that Amazon acquired in 2014.

This spring, reports surfaced that there are Amazon workers who rely on food stamps whilst Amazon fulfillment centre employees in the UK were forbidden bathroom breaks, carrying around plastic bottles. Social Media has been reeling against this lack of investment Amazon seems to have in its workers after Jeff Bezos said he feels the best investment for has gargantuan fortune is in his rocket company, Blue Origin. Said Bezos, “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel.”