Black Friday Amazon strike: Manchester workers group outside offices in global boycott

  • Black Friday strikes outside of Amazon HQ in Manchester
  • Global Strikes involving over 30 countries
  • pay workers, pay taxes, pay for climate

Following the recent ‘Make Amazon Pay’ summit, supporting unions came to a group agreement that strikes will take place on Black Friday.

Members of Global Justice Now grouped outside of the Manchester Amazon offices with aims to reduce Amazon’s earnings and demand better pay and working conditions.

A spokesperson said their aim is to “raise awareness” about retail chains and “educate those who freely use them without the knowledge of its consequences”.

The strike took place globally with over 30 countries participating and is claimed to be the biggest yet.

Manchesters take on the strike

‘pay workers pay taxes pay for climate’ was the main slogan at the strike. Representatives made their presence known with the use of loud drums and chanting.

Pre-strike, participants created a satire newspaper and were handing copies out to pedestrians walking past.

The satire newspaper created by protestors mocking Amazon. Credit: Meg Jones

The newspaper contained multiple ironic phrases and even targeted Jeff Bezos, the chairman of Amazon.

‘Win a bottle to piss in’ is seemingly a humorous and sarcastic approach to explain how Amazon workers aren’t allowed breaks and often have to urinate in their own water bottles.

The strikes took place on Black Friday to stop people buying from Amazon’s site with intent for “payback” after the company not paying its workers.

A representative raising awareness about worker exploitation. Credit: Mancunion Matters

A previous Amazon employee’s thoughts

Harry, who worked in an Amazon Warehouse during Covid-19 said “it was common for people to go home or even quit the job on shift” after explaining how lifting heavy parcels for long periods of time “took a toll” on workers back’s, causing constant pain.

He also explained how managers in the warehouse had “favourites” and would put those people on easier jobs such as putting labels on packages. While others, would be unloading and re-loading parcels for 8 hours straight.

In his opinion, it “is an area certainly that needs to be improved upon”.

James, who also worked at Amazon for a short period, said that the working hours were “long and arduous” and that it felt like “Amazon cared more about profit then the well-being of its workers”.

“I felt as if we were treated almost as robots” was the way he explained his working experience. He wishes that “there be a way to feel a sense of belonging”.

In reply to the strikes, an Amazon spokesperson said that they’re increasing the hourly wage by 20% in April 2024.