Si.Cobas

THE BLACK FRIDAY MOBILISATION STRONGLY EMPHASISES THE IMMEDIATE NEED FOR A TRADE UNION AND POLITICAL BATTLE AGAINST THE AMAZON MODEL. Last Friday, hundreds of SI Cobas workers, mostly logistics workers from various Italian cities, manned the gates of the Amazon mega-plant in Castel San Giovanni (Piacenza); with them were dozens of students and workers in solidarity. We chose to join the appeal launched by the international network “Make Amazon Pay” with the aim of giving continuity to the highly successful initiative on the occasion of the general strike of grassroots trade unionism on 11 October, and thus to give voice to the struggles against exploitation and low wages imposed by the Amazon system. We gathered outside the Amazon gates on the “Black Friday”, which has become the worldwide symbol and apex of a model of unbridled consumerism based on a reduction in retail prices that is the result of both the monstrous increase in the pace and workload of warehouse workers and drivers, and the starvation wages made possible by a system of generalised precariousness of working and contractual conditions. This system was further exacerbated during the pandemic and today a majority of Amazon workers are employed for years on fixed-term or temporary contracts, under the permanent blackmail of non-renewal and therefore unable to organise themselves in a trade union to assert their reasons and interests. Right on the eve of Black Friday, the official unions Filt Cgil, Fit Cisl and Uil Trasporti called off the strike for Amazon’s delivery drivers on the pretext of having signed an agreement with the company. They claim it to be an improvement, but in reality it legitimises and ratifies theconditions of semi-slavery imposed by the bosses, to the point of providing for abnormal percentages of precarious labour contracts at each plant (up to 70%!) in exchange for some modest wage improvements. The rhetoric of the “last mile” hides a reality of inhuman work rates, where it is forbidden even to go to the toilet during the shift, under penalty of severe disciplinary measures, and where every right provided by national collective agreements, from holidays to illness, from family leave to safeguards for working mothers, can be cancelled or denied in the name of the “superior” needs of the market. Friday’s mobilisation was not just an initiative of solidarity. SI Cobas workers from some of the most important national and international logistics chains (DHL, BRT, SDA, GLS, FedEx, UPS, Fercam, etc.) and from the most important retail chains (Leroy Merlin, Ikea, Zalando, Zara, etc.) are already experiencing first-hand how the Amazon model is increasingly becoming the reference paradigm in the entire sector. Everywhere the bosses are pushing obsessively to increase the share of temporary and fixed-term contracts, with the double aim of securing, on the one hand, a large reserve of “second class” labour with no rights and over-blackmailed, and on the other to unleash a savage downward competition on the cost of labour in order to worsen the contractual and wage conditions of permanent workers themselves and definitively break down both the barriers set by the national collective agreement and, above all, the achievements won in recent years through the struggles led by SI Cobas and other rank-and file unions. On Friday morning, we blocked both the gates of the Castel San Giovanni plant for more than four hours, interrupting the flow of goods in the main Italian hub of the global e-commerce giant. It was not a symbolic initiative, but a piece of a strategy aimed at building a working class front that on a national and international scale is capable of…

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[AMAZON] The black friday mobilisation strongly emphasises the immediate need for a trade union and political battle against the Amazon model