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Amazon workers go on strike as 'Prime Day' shopping frenzy hits

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Demonstrators carrying signs during a strike on Prime Day outside an Amazon.com fulfillment centre in Shakopee, Minnesota, US, on Monday.

San Francisco

AMAZON workers walked out of a main distribution centre in Minnesota on Monday, protesting for improved working conditions during the e-commerce titan's major "Prime" shopping event.

Amazon workers picketed outside the facility, briefly delaying a few trucks and waving signs with messages along the lines of "We're human, not robots".

"We know Prime Day is a big day for Amazon, so we hope this strike will help executives understand how serious we are about wanting real change that will uplift the workers in Amazon's warehouses," striker Safiyo Mohamed said in a release.

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"We create a lot of wealth for Amazon, but they aren't treating us with the respect and dignity that we deserve."

Organisers did not disclose the number of strikers, who said employees picketed for about an hour in intense heat before cutting the protest short due to the onset of heavy rain.

The strike was part of an ongoing effort to pressure the company on issues including job safety, equal opportunity in the workplace, and concrete action on issues including climate change, according to community organisation Awood Center.

US Democratic presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders were among those who expressed support for the strikers on Twitter.

Amazon employees also went on strike at seven locations in Germany, demanding better wages as the US online retail giant launched its two-day global shopping discount extravaganza called Prime Day.

Amazon had said in advance that the strike would not affect deliveries to customers. Amazon has consistently defended work conditions, contending it is a leader when it comes to paying workers at least US$15 hourly and providing benefits. The company last week announced plans to offer job training to around one-third of its US workforce to help them gain skills to adapt to new technologies.

Prime Day sales for Amazon were expected to hit US$5 billion this year, up from US$3.2 billion in 2018, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said in a research note. AFP