A picket wears stickers related to the strike outside the entrance of an Amazon fulfillment centre in San Fernando de Henares near Madrid. File photo/ Reuters
Workers at Amazon logistic centers in Germany and Spain staged strikes on Friday, walking off the job on Black Friday, the discount spending spree that kicks-off the start of the crucial Christmas shopping season.
Amazon Germany said around 620 workers were participating in the strikes at its Bad Hersfeld and Rheinberg facilities but the majority of employees were continuing to work and there was no impact on customer orders.
Germany’s Verdi services union had called for Amazon workers to strike for 24 hours until midnight on Friday, demanding better pay and labor contracts that guarantee healthy working conditions.
“We are entering the end of year spurt, the most stressful time for employees,” said Verdi representative Mechthild Middeke. “Especially on a day like Black Friday, employees should be the central focus.”
Amazon Germany said its jobs offered competitive pay and comprehensive benefits from the first day of employment.
Staff in Germany earn a starting salary of 10.78 euros ($12.23) per hour and earn on average a monthly wage of 2,397 euros after two years.
Workers at Amazon’s biggest warehouse in Spain, San Fernando de Henares, walked off the job on Friday and will also strike on Saturday. Unions said between 85 and 90 percent of staff were taking part in the industrial action.
Amazon Spain said the figures did not reflect reality and a majority of employees were processing orders.
Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, was so named because spending in the United States would surge and retailers would traditionally begin to turn a profit for the year - moving from the red ink into the black.
Tens of thousands of Lufthansa passengers faced disruptions on Thursday as cabin crew in Germany kicked off a “massive” 48-hour walkout in the biggest escalation yet of a bitter row over pay and conditions.
In a joint statement, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Latvia said the 28-country EU needed a "central supervisor" to tackle the flow of dirty money within the bloc's financial system.
The Ufo labour union on Friday announced strikes from Monday to Wednesday this week at Germanwings, which operates on behalf of Lufthansa's Eurowings brand, saying little progress has been achieved in talks with Lufthansa management.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanon would suspend all trips to and from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, the hardest hit countries. It would also stop arrivals from France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, he said.
About half the country's roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine — including millions in deep poverty, left jobless by tough restrictions on movement.
The first phase testing would take around three months, CSIRO's director of health Rob Grenfell told Reuters, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year.
Confirmed coronavirus infections around the world approached one million on Thursday as the pandemic spread at a "near-exponential" rate, with a six-week-old baby becoming one of the youngest known victims.