Fulfilment Centres workers at Amazon Spain vote for strikes

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Staff at Amazon Spain‘s biggest fulfilment centre at San Fernando de Henares in Madrid have voted by 74% for industrial action in a dispute between workers and the company regarding absenteeism and workloads within the facility. The fulfilment centre is the biggest in Spain employing between 1100 and 2000 staff, depending on the time of year.

One of the key sticking points relates to the working practices agreement, or convenio, which expired at the end of 2016. Several aspects of the proposed new convenio are where the problem lies. Specifically sick payment benefits will be cut by 50% and Amazon has said that it is concerned by high levels of sick days amongst the staff. A charge the union rejects.

The Workers’ Commission, Spain biggest trade union, says that unrealistic targets are causing staff to suffer ill-health, specifically a large number of employees with back problems.

The company says it has a problem with absenteeism but we say it is directly related to workload. They say that people go on the sick because of these payments. They are also branding local doctors as liars.
– Ann Berceruelo, the Worker’s Commission

No dates have been set for the strikes and discussions will continue and it is unclear what the disruption will be to marketplace sellers. In recent months Amazon has experienced strike actions at facilities in Germany and Italy, with these also related to working conditions disputes. Amazon has also been subject to scrutiny in the media in the UK for the demanding targets it expects warehouse staff to meet.

Amazon has said that the pay and benefits of its Spanish staff are “in the high range for the logistics sector, with a complete package of benefits, including private health insurance and life insurance.”

Not all the terms of the new Amazon Spain convenio have been rejected. The union has welcomed a measure that will see 800 staff working on a week-by-week basis given permanent contracts because under the new terms, only 25% of the workforce will be permitted to be temporary employees at any one time.



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