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E-commerce: Gloom amidst the Boom

There is something else that the pandemic is accelerating.

Worker-led online groups in America, that use social media and encrypted messaging apps, are organising a historic strike on 1st May, 2020.

Online groups like Whole Worker, Target Workers Unite and Instacart Shoppers (National) Facebook group, have been years in the making, according to, which calls them a“resurgent labour movement that takes things into their own hands to demand changes and organise co-workers in the absence of a union.”

And this time, they are uniting to protest the failure of their employers to provide basic protections for frontline workers while raking in record profits at the same time.

Their list of demands, include protective gear, USD5 hazard pay per order, and paid leave among others.

But, it’s more than just about workers on the frontline at stores like Walmart, Target and Whole Foods serving customers and risking their health and lives.. Amazon workers are also participating partly because of the company’s refusal to close a warehouse in New York, after a worker there tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to The Intercept, workers are also demanding increased transparency from their companies, about the number of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. After the Business Insider reported Amazon workers as saying the company’s response is inadequate and that Amazon is being non-transparent about the status of infections at their warehouses, Amazon has defended their safety procedures and disputed these workers’ allegations.

Most of the companies whose workers are claiming they will participate in the 1st May strike, have given official response that they have taken the adequate measures to improve working conditions like increasing pay and benefits, providing protective gear and enhancing cleaning measures.

IT BYTES BACK! SAYS: Whatever the outcome of the strike which is about to take place, it highlights the pain points that exist in supply chains especially at areas which involves labour-intensive tasks. Personally, I’m glad e-commerce is booming, but are these workers’ fears unfounded? If we ask this question, then the same question must apply to other countries as well, and not just the US.

Perhaps the real question it all really boils down to is this – are we ourselves taking the necessary precautions when accepting deliveries of goods?