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Amazon workers group calls for strike over virus and environmental concerns

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An Amazon delivery lorry is parked outside the Amazon logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, on April 16, 2020. – Amazon France said on April 16, 2020, it did not know when it would reopen its distribution centres, shuttered after a court-ordered it to limit deliveries to essential goods pending a review of anti-coronavirus safety measures for its staff. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

Amazon tech workers are calling for a virtual one-day strike to pressure the online retail giant over warehouse safety conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The e-commerce colossus is believed to have had COVID-19 cases in a number of its warehouses and has seen employee protests and walkouts in several of them to press for safety improvements.

The worker’s group, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, called on colleagues to call in sick on April 24, accusing the company of firing workers protesting a lack of coronavirus safety precautions and environmental issues.

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“We’re asking tech workers to virtual walkout on Friday,” said Maren Costa, who US media reported was fired with fellow employee Emily Cunningham for criticizing Amazon over environmental and coronavirus safety issues.

“We want to tell Amazon that we are sick of all this — sick of the firings, sick of the silencing, sick of pollution, sick of racism, and sick of the climate crisis,” Costa said in a press release.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment but US media reported the company said the firings resulted from violations of “internal policies.”

The Seattle-based internet giant set a goal of investing $350 million to support employees and partners during the pandemic, which has thrust Amazon into the spotlight as demand surges for online services during extensive lockdowns.

Earlier this month, the company said it was creating its own lab to test employees for coronavirus.

In a stockholders letter Thursday, owner Jeff Bezos said Amazon had distributed face masks and was implementing temperature checks.

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