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Amazon workers in Spain strike ahead of gift-giving day

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Amazon workers in Spain strike ahead of gift-giving day

Amazon.com Inc.'s warehouse employees in Spain started a two-day strike Jan. 3, ahead of the Three Kings gift-giving day Jan. 6, as part of a long-running demand for higher pay and better working conditions, Reuters reported.

The strike was initiated by Spain's two main unions, CCOO and UGT, days before Epiphany, an annual tradition in which Spanish people exchange gifts to celebrate the day on which the three kings brought presents to Jesus in Christian tradition, according to the report.

Protesters at the site lit a bonfire and a man walked around wearing a mask depicting the face of Amazon Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Bezos, the report added.

CCOO representative Douglas Harper told the news outlet that 70% of employees at the e-commerce giant's Spanish warehouse joined the strike.

However, Reuters said an Amazon spokesman denied this, saying most of the center's staff were at work Jan. 3.

Employees at the Madrid warehouse earn a minimum of €19,300 a year, or €1,608.33 per month, above Spain's legal monthly minimum wage of €1,050, the report said.

"We have been protesting for a year. This is the richest company in the world and they want to keep profiting by taking away workers' rights," an Amazon worker outside the warehouse reportedly told Reuters.

During 2018's Black Friday event, Amazon employees in European countries including Germany, Spain and the U.K. also protested against what they described as unfair warehouse working and safety conditions. Despite the protests, Amazon recorded its biggest-ever five-day shopping holiday from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

In December 2018, German workers staged a strike also to demand better pay and conditions.