Italy faces Black Friday strike by Amazon couriers

Amazon couriers in Italy to strike over "unsustainable" workloads.

Deliveries of goods via the online retail giant Amazon will be at risk in Italy on 26 November, Black Friday, the American custom dedicated to shopping at hugely-discounted prices the day after Thanksgiving.

The Black Friday strike in Italy is set to involve around 12,000 couriers, represented by employer association Assoespressi, in addition to another 3,000-4,000 seasonal workers brought in to cope with demand in the lead up to the Christmas holidays.

The general strike has been called to request "lower workloads and pace, which have become unsustainable, and to reduce the weekly working hours of drivers", explained the national secretary of trade union FILT CGIL, Michele De Rose.

Driver workloads can reach up to 200 packs per day, with 130-140 stops to be made in 8-9 hours, reports Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

The system is based on an algorithm that is constantly updated, pack after pack, on the courier's handheld device which tracks the fastest journey based on traffic, without taking breaks into consideration.

The couriers work 44 hours a week - too much according to the union - which aims to reduce the hours for now to 42, with the final goal of reaching 39.

"Ensuring a positive experience for couriers is a priority. We work closely with delivery service providers to define together realistic goals that do not put pressure on them or their employees", replied Amazon in a statement, expressing the hope that negotiations regarding couriers "can resume and reach a positive conclusion."

Shops and consumers in Italy have embraced Black Friday increasingly in recent years.

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com.