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Amazon's European warehouse workers are going on strike to protest Prime Day

By Polycount · 10 replies
Jul 16, 2018
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  1. Amazon's annual day of outlandish deals and sales, Prime Day, has officially kicked off. Unfortunately, while customers are enjoying the fruits of Amazon's massive success, the company itself is facing some internal struggles.

    We've known for a while that working conditions in Amazon's various warehouses are less than ideal, but it seems employee anger has finally reached a boiling point in some countries.

    Workers in Amazon's Germany, Poland, and Spain-based warehouses have gone on strike during Prime Day, and the timing is far from coincidental.

    NBC News reports that German workers union Verdi is calling a "one-day strike" to send a clear message to Amazon. "...while the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers," Verdi official Stefanie Nutzenberger said in a statement.

    Although this may seem like a pretty big issue for Amazon to tangle with on one of its biggest sales days of the year, the company doesn't seem worried. Indeed, according to NBC, Amazon believes that only a "fraction" of its global workers will join in on the strike.

    As such, Amazon doesn't expect the protest to have any material impact on its Prime Day sales. The retail giant also seems to reject the notion that their warehouse jobs offer poor working conditions.

    "We believe Amazon's Fulfillment Center jobs are excellent jobs providing a great place to learn skills to start and further develop a career," the company said, according to information obtained by Reuters.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 799   +326

    I can already predict the article in 2 years when these are the first warehouses converted to all robotic. Europeans Amazon employees strike as robots take jobs, but if the robots are made in Europe maybe they will strike too?
     
    senketsu and EClyde like this.
  3. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,524   +544

    Europe...LOSERS. Except for Poland, Hungary, Italy and a few others
     
    Misagt likes this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,980   +2,159

    Yes but who designs, builds, and fixes the robots? All you are doing is replacing low income jobs with high income jobs.

    It does't matter where you look, automation is happening all around the world.
     
  5. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 799   +326

    yes but your replacing 100 workers with 12 maybe 20, and even if those 12-20 make twice as much it's still cheaper and can be worked 24/7 legally. As the designs become more refined the amount of people needed to maintain them will also go down. I am not a fan of the automation future but I have no idea how we stop it and how to live in it.
     
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,980   +2,159

    First, where are you coming up with those numbers? An assumption?

    Second, I just read a Jim Keller interview about him working at Intel and he pretty explicit states that as hardware and software becomes more complicated it requires more specialists, not less as you state.

    https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/16/...m-keller-finally-decided-to-work-for-intel/2/

    "Instead of building computers out of transistors, we have the transistor guys building transistors. The library guys make things like flip-flops and logic blocks. We have functional units. We build abstraction layers in both the technical skill level you’re operating at, and also at the design level. The big chips are parallel instances of lots of similar units. If you crawl through a computer, the number of devices is unimaginable. The state space the computer can exist in, with all the different programs running, is more complicated. But the actual span and scope of an engineer’s work — you keep re-factoring the different pieces of it in a way that people can have jobs that are interesting and challenging, but not so stressful that it’s impossible to get it done."

    As software and hardware increase in complexity, the more specialists you need.
     
  7. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 799   +326

    Actually they are realistic numbers for a single amazon warehouse from around 2014, a good friend worked at one in Ohio. Your talking about the people making the equipment, and expecting fast advances in tech that require the designers to always be improving. I'm talking about the warehouses, the hundreds of thousands of employees (if not millions) that work at warehouses for multiple companies around the globe, even with 4 or 5 major suppliers with design teams your not going to have 500,000 person companies. If it gets into all the low end jobs available what are all the ditch diggers going to do for income? Even if they move on and try and get a better education to move up to higher level jobs those jobs don't have massive growth rates.
     
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,980   +2,159

    ?? There is currently a shortage of high skilled labor in the US and the growth rate has been pretty good.

    https://money.cnn.com/2015/08/07/news/economy/us-economy-job-skills-gap/

    Even still, there are plenty of new and emerging fields that are growing at a rapid rate to make up for the loss of those low skill jobs. Ditch diggers are giving up their shovels to be a smartphone salesmen, video production assistant, or a website experience tester. All jobs that need help from unskilled labor.
     
  9. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,530   +350

    Automation in future is good for us all. Yes jobs are lost but this will allow for other venues to be opened.

    Why?

    - Consumers will benefit from cheaper deliveries
    - Producers / Businesses will able to maximize profits able to employ individuals for better/other areas, potentially employing more people in the long run
    - Consumers will benefit again, from faster delivery/turn around times of products/deliveries
    - Allows the ex-employees to focus on what they want to work in. Not until Universal Basic Income is a thing tho and not without good/free/affordable education systems in place.

    But, as mentioned above. Before automation can be viable because at this rate, it's going to be a stormy future, we will need better infrastructure globally.

    The education systems are ****ing atrocious, specially that of US, UK (pre-University). Problem with that is, teachers of high caliber or any for that matter will not want to take pay-cuts to make education more affordable, and Governments can't pull the funding out of their arses (well they could but they wont). Replacing teachers with AI is going to be one venue to cut down or make education free however, that is still decades away. Alternatively making lessons all digital or VR, but again you will loose individuality and that connection to the teacher. Teacher educating a web class of 500+ can't really offer their personal guidance to the individual... Look at TreeHouse (web dev / techy educational portal) that is the future.
     
  10. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Evangelist Posts: 452   +413

    While I agree with what you're saying in the particular instance of cutting-edge areas like new microprocessors, I think you're extrapolating to areas that this won't be applicable to.

    I personally agree with the idea that fewer people will be needed. For example, when you can replace 100 call-centre staff with 1 AI chatbot. Yes, you might need a handful of people who are very highly trained in case the AI needs maintenance or fixing, but that's still like 95 other jobs lost.

    Of particular concern is that, whether it's polite to say it or not, a highly automated society with high technicality requirements for jobs participation leaves out the low-IQ portion of our society. Those with IQs between 80-100 (which is a lot of people!) will be crowded out at the bottom. And that won't be good for society at all.
     
    senketsu likes this.
  11. Reachable

    Reachable TS Maniac Posts: 270   +125

    Avoid, as much as you can, making purchases that involve Amazon's cruel warehouses. If you use the Amazon site, try to use third party sellers.

    And look forward to the day when robots do more and more of this work. Society grows in complexity faster than it grows in population, and the work that needs to be done can barely be met by the population.
     

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