Global.ilmanifesto and Socialist Project 4 June 2018
First-ever Agreement Between Amazon and Unions Halts Inhumane Work Hours in Italy
by UNI Global Union
Amazon employees in Italy have made history. Workers announced on May 23rd the first-ever direct agreement between unions and the company anywhere in the world. The Italian agreement tackles inhumane scheduling, one of the core labour problems at Amazon fulfillment centres globally.
The deal, which is supplementary to the nationwide sectoral collective labour agreement, ensures fairness in scheduling through reductions in mandatory night shifts and distributing weekend work in a just way. Amazon is notorious for long hours, punishing quotas, and little break time during shifts. In some facilities, workers say they do not have time to even use the restroom.
Italian union Filcams Cgil Nazionale played a leading role in the negotiations.
“We are pleased with this result which is currently unique in Europe,” said Massimo Mensi, a leader in Filcams Cgil Nazionale’s Amazon campaign. “We hope it will pave the way for many other negotiations in all the countries where Amazon has its operations.”
“The agreement provides that night work is initially carried out only by voluntary employees, providing, among other things, an increase of 25 per cent of the compensation under the employment contract,” Mensi continued.
Workers are guaranteed four consecutive free weekends every eight weeks and shifts alternate between Saturdays and Sundays.
The win in Italy comes after months of protests and organizing by workers. With UNI’s help, Italian and German workers coordinated strike activity in November 2017.