Extinction Rebellion targets Amazon warehouses in Black Friday protest

Business

Amazon’s largest UK warehouse is being blockaded by climate activists in Black Friday protests.

Extinction Rebellion‘s Black Friday demonstration, with about 20 activists, started at 4am at the distribution centre in Dunfermline, Fife.

The group said it was also targeting Amazon sites in Doncaster, Darlington, Newcastle, Manchester, Peterborough, Derby, Coventry, Rugeley, Dartford, Bristol, Tilbury and Milton Keynes.

An activist from Extinction Rebellion, wearing a giant Jeff Bezos head
Image:
An activist from Extinction Rebellion, wearing a giant Jeff Bezos head

Protesters with “lock-ons” and placards have stopped lorries entering the Scottish site and some from leaving.

XR’s spokesperson at the Dunfermline blockade, Meg Paton-Jones, said: “The police have one van on site and they are watching us.

“We started here at about 4am but are not blocking the employees’ car park so the night shift can leave.

“We have good vibes and music.”

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An XR spokesperson added: “The action is intended to draw attention to Amazon’s exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices, disregard for workers’ rights in the name of company profits, as well as the wastefulness of Black Friday.

“The blockade is part of an international action by XR targeting 15 Amazon fulfilment centres in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, aimed at highlighting Amazon’s ‘crimes’.

“This is happening in solidarity with activists and workers from the global Make Amazon Pay campaign, demanding better working conditions, clear environmental commitments, and for Amazon to pay their fair share of tax.

Police outside  the entrance to the Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury as XR protests target the retailer
Image:
Police outside the entrance to the Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury as XR protests target the retailer

“Amazon continues to lobby the US government to fight against climate legislation while telling the public they are committed to green initiatives.

“They are committing the very definition of greenwash.”

Protester Eleanor Harris, from Glasgow, said: “It is essential we move to a new model of economics that prioritises wellbeing and sustainability over profit.

“The era of exploitative throw-away capitalism will soon be over, either by changing to meet the challenges we now face or by the destruction of our global habitats and societies.”

Activists from Extinction Rebellion block the entrance to the Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury
Image:
Extinction Rebellion activists say they plan to target Amazon depots across the country

Maciej Walczuk, a 19-year-old student, said: “We have to recognise that the consumption in the global north is largely based upon the exploitation of the working class and the global south, while companies like Amazon make massive profits and contribute to worsening the climate and ecological crisis.

“We need a new system that respects people and the planet, instead of blindly chasing profit.”

Sky News has contacted Amazon for comment.

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The retailer is also facing criticism from unions over the health and safety of workers.

The GMB said Freedom of Information requests showed ambulance callouts for injuries and other health concerns at Amazon warehouses increased by almost 50% in the run-up to Black Friday.

Amazon said its critics were using incomplete information, insisting most ambulance callouts to its buildings were related to pre-existing conditions, not work-related incidents.

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