In a quarter expected to top $ 100 billion in revenue for the first time, Amazon will be spending $ 500 million on a one-time Christmas bonus for its frontline employees.
The raise – which won't be paid until January – is due to plans for strike action on Black Friday shopping weekend and growing demands for union formation.
Dave Clark, the operations manager for the e-commerce group, said Thursday that full-time employees who worked in the US from December 1 to December 31 would be paid $ 300. Part-time workers would get $ 150.
UK workers receive awards of £ 300 and £ 150, respectively.
"This brings our total spend on special awards and incentives to our teams worldwide over $ 2.5 billion in 2020," wrote Clark. "Including a $ 500 million thank you bonus earlier this year."
The bonuses apply to warehouse workers and deliverers. Drivers who work through Amazon Flex, the company's Gig Work app, will receive a $ 100 bonus provided they work at least 20 hours in December.
Amazon's announcement came on the eve of Black Friday, bumper day when US consumers are expected to spend more than $ 10 billion, according to Adobe forecasts, an increase of nearly 40 percent year over year.
Meanwhile, a coalition that includes dozens of interest groups and unions is trying to disrupt Amazon's supply chain and logistics in protest against wages, occupational safety and welfare benefits. The groups are also calling for the company to reduce its environmental footprint and pay more taxes.
UNI Global Union stated that strike actions and related actions were planned in at least 15 countries in which the company operates or has suppliers, including the US, UK and Germany. The Verdi union said it organized a three-day strike at 7 a.m. Amazon's distribution centers in the country. This is followed by a strike in June organized by the same group.
In total, according to the organizers, the groups represent around 40,000 Amazon employees worldwide, although it is unclear how many will participate.
"This is a series of misleading claims made by misinformed or selfish groups that use Amazon's profile to promote their individual causes," Amazon said in a statement.
“Amazon has a long history of helping our employees, our customers and our communities, including providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits that lead to climate change, with the commitment to the climate promise to be net zero by 2040 and pay billions in taxes worldwide. "
In April, Amazon temporarily closed its six facilities in France after a court order called for only essential items to be handled during the coronavirus pandemic. The warehouses were reopened in mid-May after several weeks of negotiations between Amazon and the unions.
Despite several attempts, there is no recognized Amazon union in the USA. The influential retail, wholesale and department store union plans to represent around 1,500 workers at a facility in Bessemer, Alabama. “When workers come together to form a union, they gain dignity and respect at work,” says a website that was set up to gain support for the effort.
"If Amazon workers in Alabama – a strong anti-union state – vote to form a union, it will be heard around the world," wrote Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders on Twitter. "If they can negotiate higher wages and better working conditions in the South, every worker in America will benefit."
A recently released Vice report alleged that Amazon had hired Pinkerton, a private intelligence agency, to participate in anti-union efforts.
Declined to use the agency for this purpose, Amazon said in a statement, “We partner with specialist companies for many different reasons – in the case of Pinkerton, to secure high quality shipments in transit.
“We don't use our partners to gather information about warehouse workers. All activities we conduct are fully in accordance with local laws and are carried out with the full knowledge and support of the local authorities. "
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