Tensions have been rising at Amazon Headquarters in Seattle as many employees are planning a walkout in response to recent layoffs and return to office policies.
Image Source: Amazon
Amazon is an American tech company that focuses on e-commerce, advertisements, and digital streaming. It is considered to be one of the richest tech companies and is very influential in American everyday life. Amazon is the largest online retailer, digital streaming service, and smart speaker provider.
Amazon has a market cap of 1.18 trillion USD and employs around 1.5 million people in total. However, in recent times, the tech industry has been facing uncertainty, and mass layoffs have taken place in several companies.
The industry has experienced slowdowns, and in response, companies are laying off employees in order to cut costs. In this year alone, almost 2,00,000 employees have lost their jobs, as compared to 1,50,000 in the entire year of 2022.
Amazon, like other tech companies, also had to fire several of its workers. In November 2022, 18,000 employees were laid off by Amazon.
More recently, in March 2023, another 9,000 employees were fired, and several departments were either axed or downsized considerably. These include workers in advertising, services, devices, HR, and cloud computing.
Amazon Seattle Walkout
Given this background, tensions are running high in the Seattle headquarters of Amazon. Workers are planning a walkout in response to these layoffs and to protest Amazon’s controversial return-to-work policy.
According to this, employees must work in the office at least three days a week. Many of Amazon’s benefit programmes, like Amazon Care, have also been cut.
The walkout and lunchtime protest are planned for May 31, according to employee organisers. 20,000 workers have signed a petition against the “return to work” policy.
Image Source: Times Now News
Reactions and Responses
The company responded with a statement, saying, “We respect our employees’ rights to express their opinions”. However, Amazon employees are reporting a lack of clarity in leadership, and morale is plummeting amongst workers.
Senior Vice President for Communications Drew Herdener stated that in the South Lake Union Office, energy levels are high and that in urban centres, workers are returning to offices in large numbers.
With the walkout set to take place on May 31, many tech companies in Silicon Valley fear that similar protests may happen within their own offices as well. The recent slowdown and layoffs in the industry have caused discontent among employees.