Amazon Sees ‘Record Levels’ of UK Shopping on Black Friday — but Faces Data Breach, Worker Strike

As it reports “record levels” of shopping in the U.K., Amazon is facing pressing concerns during the busiest retail season of the year.

The e-tail giant reportedly experienced a data breach that exposed customers’ names and email addresses. In a statement to FN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We have fixed the issue and informed customers who may have been impacted.”

Separately, hundreds of Amazon employees across Europe are set to protest “inhuman” working conditions at the company’s warehouses on Black Friday.

The demonstrations are taking place outside five fulfillment centers in the country, put together by off-shift workers and British trade union GMB. Employees in Spain and Italy are also planning a 24-hour strike. A campaign on social media runs with the hashtag #AmazonWeAreNotRobots.

In a statement, GMB general secretary Tim Roache said that the treatment of Amazon workers is “frankly inhuman,” adding: “They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.”

Additionally, an anonymous insider who identified as a seasonal worker penned a column for The Guardian two days ago that purported alarming working conditions at an Amazon fulfillment center, citing “blown backs, boxes falling on people’s heads, carpal tunnel in your coworkers’ wrists and balky knees that never get better.”

“After a few months at the company, it becomes clear to most of us that management doesn’t regard us a crucial contributors to its success,” it read. “In reality, they treat us like disposable parts.”

Amazon responded with a statement to FN: “Amazon is a fair and responsible employer. We believe in continuous improvement across our network and maintain an open and direct dialogue with our associates. Amazon has invested over 27 billion euros [$30.6 billion] and created over 75,000 permanent jobs across Europe since 2010. These are good jobs with highly competitive pay, full benefits and innovative training programs like Career Choice that prepays 95 percent of tuition for associates. We provide safe and positive working conditions and encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfillment centers.”

It’s not the first time the retailer’s treatment of workers has come under fire. The company was criticized by United States Sen. Bernie Sanders, who introduced the Stop Bezos Act — named after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — that would impose an additional tax on major corporations whose workers used public assistance. Early last month, Amazon raised its minimum wage for U.S. workers to $15.

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