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Italian officials inspect working conditions at Amazon hub

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's labour ministry sent officials to e-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday to check on working conditions there, the department's team of inspectors said in a statement.

Eleven inspectors went to Amazon's site near the northern financial capital Milan, two weeks after unions representing its workers called a strike on so-called Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Amazon said in a statement, "The safety and wellbeing of our employees is our number one priority and we are happy to work closely with authorities to provide insight into our working conditions and safety standards."

The inspectors were checking on whether Italian labour and welfare rules were being observed, focusing on logistical and handling operations, the ministry said.

"National Labour Inspectorate officials are gathering statements from workers to 'photograph' their working conditions," the statement said.

Trade unions said they called the strike in November, the first at an Amazon site in Italy, because negotiations with the company over bonuses and distribution of shifts had broken down.

Amazon said at the time that salaries paid to its workers were among the highest in the logistics sector and that it also provided benefits including private medical insurance or money to pay for training programmes.

Separately, on Wednesday an Italian watchdog said two logistics companies in the Amazon group should be considered providers of postal services, and gave them a 15-day deadline to change their contracts with employees accordingly.



(Reporting by Isla Binnie and Valentina Za; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)