Amazon workers across Germany held strikes over worker safety yesterday after “at least 30 to 40” employees tested positive for COVID-19.
German labour union Verdi accused Amazon of “endangering the health of its employees in favour of corporate profit”, announcing that strikes will be held at six German sites across Monday and Tuesday this week.
In the latest controversy over worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Verdi representative Orhan Akman said he had “information that at least 30 to 40 colleagues were infected”,
Amazon denied the accusations, pointing to the fact that it had all but wiped out its $4 billion in profits in June over thanks to increased spending on keeping its global workforce safe.
“We utilize a variety of data to closely monitor the safety of our buildings and there is strong evidence that our employees are not proliferating the virus at work—what we see is that the overall rate of infection and increase or decrease of total cases is highly correlated to the overall community rate of infection,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.
“We believe strongly our associates are not spreading the virus at work given the robust safety measures we’ve put into place.
“Unlike others who hide beyond HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), anytime there is a confirmed diagnosis we alert every person at the site. Employees receive a direct message noting when the person with the confirmed diagnosis was last in the building.”
Similar strikes have taken place across the globe, notably in the US where the online giant is being sued by six people who accused it of allowing coronavirus to spread among its facilities leading to the death of one worker’s family member.
Its response to protests in the US, which saw numerous employees sacked for speaking out against its practices, led its vice president Tim Bray quit “in dismay”.
Bray cited a “vein of toxicity running through the company culture” for his departure.