On March 20 we took part in a teleconference with Amazon. The company presented to us its proposal of a bonus of 4 złoty before taxes (0.61 euro net) for every hour worked between March 15 and April 30. Amazon was not open to negotiating the bonus amount or conditions.
We demanded the immediate shutdown of Amazon warehouses (and that during this shutdown, Amazon pay all workers their full salary), because work inside the warehouses puts us in danger of contracting the virus and spreading it further to society. We already forwarded this demand to government representatives. Amazon refused to talk about shutting down the warehouses in Poland. In this situation, we demanded negotiation of the work conditions inside the warehouses in the coming days. We stressed that health, safety and the lives of workers and their families are our top priority. Amazon refused to talk about workers’ health and safety concerns. The company presented to us its non-negotiable 4 złoty pandemic bonus policy, giving us only an hour for discussion.
For the past week and a half, both unions have been demanding an emergency meeting with Amazon’s decision makers. While thousands of people work every day at the warehouses, commuting from all over the country, managers were not able to meet with shop stewards due to their own concerns of contracting the virus on site.
Amazon is making money on the global health crisis. The company is only focused on continuing its operations and making sure that workers show up, sick or healthy, for 4 złoty more. We realize that online sales are bringing in record profits in this time of crisis, but as workers we also know that these profits will not be going into our pockets.
We wanted to talk with the company about paying out a 15% monthly bonus that would also go to workers who are on sick leave or in quarantine, as all of us need money in these difficult times. We also wanted Amazon to make a financial contribution to support Poland’s public health care system. To all of these demands, Amazon said “no”.
Without restrictive safety measures in place, Amazon warehouses must shutdown until the pandemic is over! Workers and unions must be taken seriously. We demand real negotiations with Amazon’s decision makers, like Marian Sepesi, the company’s regional director for Central Europe. We are aware that Amazon workers throughout Europe are facing the same problems and also demanding that the warehouses shutdown. At the moment, Amazon workers in warehouses in France and Italy have organized wildcat strikes. Together, we will push Amazon’s top decision makers in Luxembourg to protect the health and safety of all workers.
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