Amazon Anonymous in 'Christmas card' protest

Amazon Anonymous in 'Christmas card' protest

Campaign group Amazon Anonoymous has delivered a "Christmas card" to the company's UK boss Christopher North challenging him to pay workers the Living Wage.

The card, delivered to Amazon's UK headquarters in Slough yesterday (22nd December) was two metres wide and mimicked the design of an Amazon Prime Free Trial customer card. On the back was an anonoymous testimony from a warehouse worker, which read: "I have never felt such depression from work in my life and I felt so isolated, and I felt unable to do anything about how I was being treated, we were forced to just accept it."

The move is the latest stunt by Amazon Anonoymous, which has encouraged people to boycott Amazon when buying Christmas presents this December, in protest about the low wages it pays warehouse staff and the low corporation tax the company pays in the UK, choosing instead to register its European headquarters in the tax haven of Luxembourg.

So far 40,000 people have signed the so-called Amazon Free Challenge and organisers estimate it has cost the company £5.5m in Christmas sales so far. The figure was calculated after boycotters were asked how much they would usually spend on Amazon at Christmas when signing up to the challenge. Instead, protestors have been given a list of recommended alternative retailers to shop at, including independent stores.

Bex Hay from Amazon Anonymous said: “Chris North probably gets thousands of emails wishing him a Happy Christmas, but we thought it would be nicer for him to get something in person. We’re keen for him to know that 40,000 people are withholding their money this year until Amazon becomes a more responsible company – and that starts with paying workers fairly. We eagerly await a reply from Amazon, the longer they avoid us the bigger this protest is going to get.
If Amazon can afford to sponsor Christmas at Downton Abbey, they can afford to pay their workers a living wage.”

Alexandra Lievin, an Amazon boycotter from South London who came to the delivery, said: “It’s funny to give a Christmas card to the boss of a global company which dodges tax, because they just take from society without giving back: the exact opposite of the Christmas spirit.

“It’s been encouraging doing the boycott and seeing thousands of people doing it wit me. It’s been easy so far – there are plenty of local shops near where I live that are more deserving of my money.”

The Living Wage is calculated annually by the Living Wage Foundation and is set in accordance with the cost of living. Outside London the wage is £7.65 an hour.

Amazon has yet to respond to a request for comment on the campaign group's latest stunt but has previously directed The Bookseller to a website link which explains that: "In the UK, permanent associates start on an average of £7.39 per hour and earn up to £8.90 per hour after 24 months." However, the company only employs 6,000 permanent employees in its warehouses and many more staff are on temporary contracts, with those temporary contracts persistently renewed after three months, Amazon Anonymous has claimed. "Temporary associates earn a minimum of £6.70 per hour in their first 12 weeks," Amazon said.