In recent years, a different way of working, living and leisure has developed.
People, because of the Coronavirus, spend many hours at home and increasingly prefer e-commerce, i.e. digital shopping. It is precisely through the Internet that it is possible to get everything you want, from food to clothes, in a matter of days or even hours.
While on the one hand it is extremely convenient to be able to have everything you want in a short time and without effort, always available and directly at home, sometimes even saving money compared to the prices displayed in physical shops, on the other hand there is an aspect as important as it is negative: the lack of workers' rights.
In Italy, workers at the famous e-commerce giant Amazon are currently protesting about the lack of rights in their jobs, which do not give them enough time and space to carry out their daily tasks with dignity. Internationally, the situation is the same: the working model, which makes the owners exponentially richer, does not protect the 'assembly line' behind the incredibly fast and convenient deliveries.
For more than five years, food delivery riders have been fighting for more dignity in their deliveries. The timing is provided by a platform that uses a specific algorithm to give a response based on the product ordered. If the rider to whom the order is assigned refuses it or does not accept it in a short time, an "auction" mechanism is triggered in which the same order is proposed to other deliverymen, according to a sort of score they obtain based on the efficiency of deliveries. This system incentivises a game of slaughter in which riders deprive themselves of proper working time, sometimes even risking their own lives, risking accidents, in the name of saving time.
Even in assembly lines for packing products for shipment, there is lack of rights, time constraints and almost non-existent breaks. A famous case is the request by workers at Amazon USA to join a trade union. However, the request was refused, thus depriving them of an internationally protected right. Accusations against the famous company, originating in the United Kingdom, are also said to be that it spies on workers and forbids them to denounce degrading working conditions, risking dismissal.
Amnesty International also campaigned for worker protection by collecting signatures to mobilise and publicise the just demands of workers.
In addition, many workers fell ill during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, precisely because of the lack of protection in their jobs. These accusations were made by France and Poland.
Translated by Francesca Cioffi
Original version by Sofia Perinetti