Activists and Amazon employees in the United States and Germany are using the two-day discount event Prime Day to protest against several aspects of the e-commerce giant.
The first Prime Day was held in 2015 to celebrate Amazon's twentieth anniversary, but the event soon grew into a massive success that generated 3.5 billion euros of turnover last year. Amazon particularly wants to use the discounts to promote its Prime subscription formula, which includes fast and free delivery. Jeff Bezos' company now promises over a million products on sale around the world.
Amazon has seven distribution centres in Germany, where trade union Verdi has already announced protests. Wages are the issue: employees are paid according to the standards of the logistics sector, but the union claims the wages should conform to the standards of the (better paid) retail sector. According to the e-commerce giant, only a limited number of employees are participating in the strikes and they will not affect the deliveries in any serious way.
In the United States, the protest is about the poor working conditions, as well as Amazon's ties to various cabinets that are involved with tracking down and deporting illegal immigrants. Amazon Web Services hosts large databases with personal data that could be used for that purpose. The protesters demand Amazon cuts all ties with these authorities. They started a petition, which has since been signed by more than 250,000 people.