Friday, May 25, 2018

First-ever agreement between Amazon and unions halts inhumane work hours in Italy

 Reprinted from Unionglobalnews

Amazon employees in Italy have made history. Workers are announcing today 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 fulfilment 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% 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 organising by workers. With UNI’s help, Italian and German workers coordinated strike activity in November 2017.

"This deal is important in light of the strikes and protests of last November, when on Black Friday many employees demanded reasonable workloads and less of an impact on their family life. This agreement that can now pave the way for new corporate relationships on issues of health and safety of the workplace,” said Maria Grazia Gabrielli, General Secretary of Filcams Cgil Nazionale.

The agreement, approved by a large majority of voting workers, will run for one year starting June 17, and the union will closely monitor the results.

“It’s clear that Amazon must negotiate with workers who have organised into unions, and with Amazon’s labour practices under fire throughout Europe and the U.S., the agreement will be the first of many that will reform the company’s model of exploitative labour relations,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce.

UNI Global Union is working to build alliances between national unions who represent Amazon workers. Currently, its Amazon Worker Alliance is made of from unions from countries including, the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Czech Republic.

1 comment:

Sean said...

This is an important development. Workers winning union recognition in this new sector of the economy. International action was needed and was taken to win this. The new developments in the world economy are drawing together workers world wide into the same companies and the same economic sectors as never before. Objectively the working class is becoming more international and more unified. The refusal of the top union leadership to lead holds this development back from fully expressing itself subjectively in a mass movement. But this will change. The objective international unification of the working class which has been leaping forward in the last decades will overcome the blocking role of the union leaders who believe there is no alternative to capitalism and that the working class cannot build a new world. As the present capitalist growth and stock market frenzy collapses new forces will take action. As this happens the effect of the collapse of Stalinism which was used by international capitalism to step up their propaganda that there is no alternative to capitalism will be undermined. The thought of the mass of the working class will increasingly be - "There has got to be an alternative to capitalism". Democratic socialism will once again take its place on the agenda of the mass working class movement. When it does we need to remember that capitalism in pursuit of cheap labor has spread the working class into just about every area of the world. The economic policies of the Chinese bureaucracy have also enormously strengthened the Chinese and the international working class. We also need to remember that today an estimated 50% of the world's factory workers are women. We also need to see that the teachers and education workers in US states like West Virginia have taken action, pushed aside their own pro capitalist union leadership and won victories against extreme right wing Republican governments. There is no basis for pessimism. Sean O'Torain.