Amazon and the Italian unions have signed a historic agreement
The trade unions themselves defined the agreement signed with Amazon as “historic”.
Not only for what has actually been achieved but because it was the very first opening of Jeff Bezos’ company to the trade union counterpart. Does the image, perhaps partly stereotyped, of the Seattle-based giant as an example of a multinational attentive only to profit and disinterested in the quality of work of its employees begin to be eroded?
Let’s find out how the agreement was obtained, even more striking why sanctioned a few months after a strike that saw Amazon employees join compact. Then let’s see what consequences the pact signed on 15 September last will have, and what the reactions of the trade unions and the economy have been.
The agreement between Amazon and the Italian unions
On Wednesday 15 September the agreement was signed between the company representatives of Amazon Italia Logistica and Conftrasporto on the one hand, and the representatives of the confederal trade unions in the sector (Filt Cgil, Fit, Cisl and Uil Trasporti) on the other.
If, as we have said, for the unions it was a historic pact, Amazon commented: “The signed protocols represent further proof of our commitment to establishing a constructive and responsible dialogue with workers’ representatives both at national and local “.
But what does the agreement foresee?
What the signature requires
In the meantime, with the signature Amazon formally undertakes to comply with the rules of the national labor agreement for the logistics, freight and shipping industry. It also opens up to a periodic discussion on the problems of the e-commerce sector, also in anticipation of the renewal of the contract.
Unions have finally joined Amazon, and this is the great news that bodes well for the future. It is precisely a joint note of the signatory trade unions to explain the areas of collaboration with the Bezos company: “The agreement will make it possible to start negotiations on organizational issues such as timetables, shifts, workloads, on regulatory elements such as the correct recognition of levels of employment, on health, safety and prevention at work, on training and on economic issues such as the performance bonus, incentives and special increases. Negotiations on these issues will also be possible at a territorial level “.
Wages increase by 8%
The news regarding one of the most important aspects of the agreement, that of wages, is very fresh.
Since October, the entry paycheck of employees working in the logistics sector has risen from 1,550 euros gross per month to 1,680 euros grossan increase of 8%.
Stefano Perego, vice president of Amazon Operations Europe, swells his chest: “We have always worked to be the most customer-oriented company in the world, but not only. We also want to be the best employer and the safest place to work. “
It should also be said that the rise in wages comes from an increasingly healthy society. Thanks also to the closures of many businesses in the hardest months of the pandemic, in 2020 Amazon’s receipts grew by 38%. And they have reached 386 billion dollars, equivalent to about 327 billion euros.
There will also be 200 new hires. As stated by Mariangela Marseglia, Vice President and Country Manager of Amazon.it and Amazon.es. “We are proud to announce the search for new talents who will join our Milan-based teams and support us in our daily work to innovate on behalf of customers”.
From the strike in March to the agreement in September
The Amazon-trade union agreement acquires even more importance if we consider that it comes less than six months after a nationwide strike, organized on March 22 last. According to CGIL, CISL and UIL, abstention from work was around 90%.
And to read the beginning of the March CGIL communiqué, it seems that in this case the trade union struggle has borne its fruits. “Jeff Bezos and his are not used to strikes. In general, they do not like trade unions and have some difficulties in relating with those who want to join the union and give themselves a representation. “
Salvatore Pellecchia, general secretary of Fit Cisl, sees one of the turning points in the strike of 22 March. And he also recognizes the important role of mediator played by the Minister of Labor Andrea Orlando.
Adriano Garnero, an OECD economist, said: “In the other countries, Amazon has done everything to not have the trade unions around, in the US it has come to support raising the minimum wage to $ 15. Having said that, the American group is a transparent employer, the subcontractors who represent a bit of the dark forest of the logistics sector are another thing ”.
Enthusiastic words on the Amazon-trade union agreement by Tiziano Treu, president of CNEL: “The protocol signed by Amazon and the trade unions is noteworthy. If only for the wide recognition of the value of industrial relations and for the commitment to apply the national logistics contract “.