#MakeAmazonPay campaign launches on Black Friday

#MakeAmazonPay is a new coalition which is demanding change from the online giant. Campaigners have organised a Global Day of Action on Black Friday, November 27th, with industrial actions at Amazon warehouses and solidarity actions around the world.

#MakeAmazonPay calls on Amazon to address its workers, environmental and political abuses. It has published a list of 25 common demands, from “raising workers’ pay in all Amazon warehouses in line with the increasing wealth of the corporation” and “ending union busting”; to “stopping all sponsoring of climate change denial” and “paying taxes in full”.

The coalition will be targeting Amazon on Black Friday, a day of global retail sales following Thanksgiving in America. Amazon dominates the retail holiday, with a 26% share of the Black Friday market in 2018. The company is largely credited with bringing the day of consumerism to the UK.

Thousands of Amazon warehouse workers will participate in strikes in Germany. Garment workers will demand fair wages in Dhakar, Bangladesh, trade unions will protest Amazon’s abuse of call center workers in the Philippines, and hawkers (travelling street vendors) will take to the streets of New Delhi to protest Amazon’s expansion in India. Other protests will take place in the UK, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Poland and Australia.

An empire built on exploitation

“For years, Amazon’s expanding empire has undermined workers’ rights, environmental standards, and the public institutions underpinning our democracies,” says Casper Gelderblom from Progressive International, one of the coalition members. “The corporation’s current push to use the COVID-19 pandemic to consolidate its unprecedented market power demands a common front in response.”

Amazon has come under increasing fire during the coronavirus pandemic due to its poor treatment of workers, while continuing to rake in enormous profits due to the shift to shopping online.

According to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies, published in November, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos could have paid all 876,000 of its workers a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as when the pandemic began.

Despite 37% growth profits during the pandemic, Amazon announced at the beginning of September that its key UK business paid just a 3% increase in corporation tax in 2019.

“Amazon is not alone in these bad practices,” the coalition states, “but it sits at the heart of a failed system that drives the inequality, climate breakdown and democratic decay that scar our age.”

Ethical Consumer has joined the coalition alongside War on Want, Tax Justice Network, Greenpeace and other major organisations.

Visit the coalition website and sign up to the list of demands >

Boycott Black Friday

Ethical Consumer is calling for a boycott of Amazon this Black Friday in protest against its prolific tax avoidance. "Consumers withdrawing from this online marketing frenzy will send a clear message to a corporation responsible for aggressive tax avoidance, tax that could have been used to fund our vital public services such as the NHS,” says Tim Hunt, co-editor of the magazine.