Anti-Black Friday activists targeted Amazon sites in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe on Friday during several actions to denounce the overconsumption encouraged, according to them, by the American online sales giant.
In London, between 20 and 30 members of the association “Labor Behind the Label” (“the work behind the label”) demonstrated in front of the company’s headquarters in the country, chanting “Amazon, Amazon, we do not are not robots “and calling for” to charge “the American firm, noted an AFP journalist.
“Stop ransacking the planet”, “smile, it’s Black Friday” or even “stop stealing workers’ wages”, could we read on the signs held up by the demonstrators. One of them wore a mask depicting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“Black Friday is a massive party to buy things” while “the climate emergency” requires on the contrary to “curb our consumption”, denounced Anna Bryher, an activist of the association, judging that Amazon benefits from the situation.
“We have allowed massive companies like Amazon for too long to violate workers’ rights,” she added.
Amazon, which launched its promotional campaign on Thursday, is concentrating most of the attacks on promotional offers offered by many merchants on Friday, kicking off the Christmas shopping season.
“Make Amazon Pay”, an international coalition of forty organizations, including Greenpeace and Oxfam, accuses the Seattle group of placing profits before the well-being of its employees and supports employees wishing to demonstrate against their working conditions or go on strike on Friday.
Activists of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion have organized blockades of Amazon distribution centers to protest against the “obsession with overconsumption” symbolized according to them by “Black Friday”.
The 13 British sites targeted early in the morning by the organization represent, according to her, more than half of the deliveries of the American group in the country.
At the Scottish center of Dunfermline, around 20 activists were preventing vehicles from entering and some from leaving, the Press Association reported, which at the end of the day had 13 arrests of activists by the police at three of the blocked sites.
“This action aims to expose Amazon’s crimes while making an example of a larger economic system designed to push us to buy things we don’t need at a price we can’t afford,” he said. Extinction Rebellion (XR) explained in a statement.
The environmental movement said it was also targeting two sites in Germany and the Netherlands, where activists notably blocked access to an Amazon depot at Amsterdam airport.
“Amazon employees are faced with short-term contracts, long working days, low wages and scheduled toilet breaks,” denounced the Dutch branch of the group on Twitter.
Contacted by AFP, Amazon said it was working to use its network in such a way as to minimize the consequences for its customers.
“We take our responsibilities seriously, this includes our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040,” said a spokesperson for the group often criticized for its social and fiscal practices.
He said he would provide “a safe and modern working environment” and support “tens of thousands of small businesses that sell” on his platform.
In the United Kingdom, the federation representing independent retailers (Bira) estimates that 85% of these small traders will boycott “Black Friday”.