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Monday, March 17, 2014

GMB Message Of Support To French Amazon Workers Taking Strike Action Tomorrow 18th March At Chalon Near Lyon

We stand with our sisters and brothers in the CGT and VerDi in their campaigns for decent work from Amazon says GMB

German trade union VerDi will convey a message of support from GMB during a visit to French trade union CGT tomorrow 18th March on the occasion of the strike by CGT members at the Amazon warehouse in Chalon near Lyon.

The three unions CGT, VerDi and GMB plan to deepen European coordination among the unions dealing with members in Amazon. Amazon will get two messages loud and clear. Firstly that the big general unions in 3 EU states are now combining to support action in Amazon and secondly that Amazon clearly need to rethink its management styles as strike action spreads from Germany to France.

Amazon has operations in Croydon, Doncaster, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Gourock, Hemel Hemstead, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley, Swansea, Slough, Holborn in London, Dublin and Cork. Amazon told the press in Feb 2013 it employs more than 5,000 permanent employees across the UK and a further 10,000 to 15,000 casual staff throughout the year.

Amazon plans to double the number of warehouses it operates in Britain in the next three years.

Last week in Berlin GMB met VerDi that organizes Amazon workers in Germany. The aim of the meeting was to discuss how to combine to ensure that Amazon improves security of employment, treats workers fairly and pays them a wage they can live on in their distribution chain in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.

GMB told VerDi that unlike in Germany union activity in the UK has to be kept underground for fear of reprisals.

The law in Germany better protects rights to organize and workers at some of Amazon's German warehouses took strike action on 16/17 December 2013 over pay.

Martin Smith, GMB National Organizer, in a message of support to Amazon workers in France, said "In the UK as in the rest of Europe Amazon only offers jobs of last resort to our communities - low paid and insecure work you cannot build a life around. GMB stands with our sisters and brothers in the CGT and VerDi in their campaigns for decent work from Amazon.

Amazon receives massive hidden subsidies from governments across Europe, building roads, supporting low paid workers and in the taxes it avoids. A tax dodging company tends to be a wage dodging company in the experience of GMB and Amazon is no exception. Trade Unions across Europe plan to better co-ordinate their actions and support each other in our common aim of making sure Amazon pays its way - in both wages and taxes."

Stefanie Nutzenberger, from Ver.Di in a message of support to Amazon workers in France, said "We will not leave it to the Amazon management to decide about the development of the working world of tomorrow in Germany and in other European countries. It is for us to take matters into our own hands. Every day people perform excellent and reliable services for Amazon. Thus it is justified that they demand respect, recognition, a living wage and good working conditions. But what Amazon offers is a system of fixed term contracts, low wages and a lot of working pressure. It is not acceptable that Amazon sets working and payment conditions on its own discretion. We shall not allow that to happen.

This is a deep and fundamental conflict with the company of Amazon and we will have to deal with it in Germany as well as in other countries for a long time. Thus we wish you, Amazon employees in France, a lot of success and the required perseverance regarding your strikes ! The intensified cooperation among the European unions and the actions taken today are an important signal and show, that solidarity among employees is beginning to cross borders. It is the only right answer to the multinational company Amazon and its questionable methods"


Contact Martin Smith 07974 251 823 or Mick Conroy GMB Scotland 07921 289737 or Nadine Houghton GMB Croydon 07714 239227 or Mervyn Burnett GMB Wales 07980 753114 

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