More than 1,900 Amazon employees around the world committed to walking out in protest about the company’s return-to-office mandate, which saw many workers being told to cut back on remote working and work from the office for at least three days per week.
The event, live-streamed on Twitter by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group representing dissatisfied Amazon workers, saw speakers also highlight various company policies, criticizing it for not being environmentally friendly.
According to the group, workers from the US, Ireland, South Africa, China, Germany, Poland, Brazil, Canada, and Spain took part in the event virtually.
Amazon workers protest
Banners displayed by the disgruntled workers read: “Earth’s Best Employer? Stop the PR”; “Listen to your employees, Stop greenwashing”; and “One size does not fit all”.
Another handwritten placard read: “Been here 17 years. Does Amazon care about my opinion?”
Among the numerous concerns raised by the group are that the company has drastically undercounted its carbon footprint, that the pollution caused by its operations harm communities of color disproportionately, and that Amazon has turned back on some decisions including its commitment to make half of its shipments net-zero carbon by the end of the decade.
Also of great importance during the walkout was the company’s decision to make office working mandatory: a decision made public in February that saw uproar from company workers worldwide.
Beyond the environmental impacts of traveling to work, which often requires families to have multiple vehicles, employees also report having more quality time with their families thanks to the reduction or elimination of the daily commute.
Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy explained that physical collaborative working facilitates ad-hoc conversation and better learning, also citing positive impacts on the economies surrounding the company’s offices.
An Amazon spokesperson told TechRadar Pro:
"We continue to push hard on getting to net carbon zero by 2040, and we have over 400 companies who’ve joined us in our Climate Pledge. While we all would like to get there tomorrow, for companies like ours who consume a lot of power, and have very substantial transportation, packaging, and physical building assets, it’ll take time to accomplish. We remain on track to get to 100% renewable energy by 2025, and will continue investing substantially, inventing and collaborating both internally and externally to reach our goal.
We’re always listening and will continue to do so, but we’re happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been. There's more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we've heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices. We understand that it’s going to take time to adjust back to being in the office more and there are a lot of teams at the company working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for employees."
Furthermore, Amazon estimates that around 300 people participated, of its 65,000 Puget Sound region corporate and tech employees, and its 350,000 corporate and tech employees globally.
- Considering a change? Here’s the best hybrid working tech
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!
With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!