Amazon asked police in Spain to intervene in a mass strike at a warehouse on the outskirts of Madrid, according to local reports.
Close to 90 percent of the workers — almost 1,600 employees — participated in the walkout at Spain’s largest Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares near Madrid, and will continue to strike, Reuters reported.
Amazon is accused of requesting that local police forces stop the strike and force workers back on to the warehouse floor. According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, supervisors at Amazon even asked police to stay on site during the day to ensure that worker productivity levels remained high.
A source at Spanish union CCOO, which helped coordinate the strikes, told Business Insider that Amazon “wanted to send the police inside the warehouse to push people to work.”
Amazon’s request “dumbfounded” police, according to El Confidencial. “The request was rejected by the police, who maintained that controlling labor productivity doesn’t fall within its powers,” a police source said.
Amazon denied that it had asked police to intervene in the strike. A spokeswoman told Business Insider:
“Amazon is a responsible business that puts its customers and associates first. We always work with public authorities, including the police, to ensure the safety of our people and our operations.
“However any suggestion that we have used this relationship in an improper way is categorically wrong. Anyone who understands the way businesses and local authorities work will know that these ludicrous suggestions are the worst kind of misinformation.”
However, this is not the first time Amazon has asked police to intervene in Amazon warehouse protests in Spain, El Confidencial notes. When workers went on strike on Prime Day in July, Amazon asked police to guarantee workers access across the picket line and to trucks carrying merchandise. The strikes in July resulted in clashes with police, including some arrests.