Australians are due to drop $6.2 billion on everything from airfares to eczema cream in Black Friday sales, as unions protest poor working conditions at Amazon.
Black Friday purchases of some 11 million shoppers are expected to eclipse the traditional Boxing Day shopping frenzy over the next four days.
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Australia’s largest bricks-and-mortar centre, Chadstone in Melbourne’s southeast, was buzzing with sales offering up to 70 per cent off.
Retailers like LSKD slashed prices while Bevilles Jewellers offered up to 50 per cent off diamonds and gold jewellery.
Myer stores across Australia featured an extensive range of discounts, with 40 per cent off brands like Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger and 50 per cent off homewares.
“Myer’s Black Friday sales have become synonymous with Christmas and are a fantastic way for Australians to stretch their dollar further to fulfil all their Christmas needs,” chief customer officer Geoff Ikin said.
“There’s no doubt Black Friday sales are getting bigger and better each year and we know our offers won’t disappoint.”
Gold Coast skin care company MooGoo said sales were up to six times higher than usual.
“Every day this week we have been receiving an order of our skincare products every minute,” MooGoo boss Craig Jones said.
Jetstar offered over 50,000 sale fares for flights in 2023 while Virigin Australia discounted 500,000 fares.
However, shoppers are being urged to stay vigilant against phishing emails and texts, amid the bargain hunting.
A survey by cybersecurity company NordVPN found nearly seven million Australian shoppers have fallen victim to online scams.
Thousands are also expected to “chuck a sickie” and give work the flick so they can take advantage of the weekend’s bargains.
‘Treated like robots’
Meanwhile, unions held anti-Amazon protests in Adelaide as part of a global day of action linked to global Black Friday events.
Members of the retail and transport unions gathered in front of the Amazon Flex Warehouse in Adelaide’s north to protest against poor working conditions and exploitation faced by employees.
The American multinational company had a total revenue of $US127.1 billion ($A187.8 billion) in the three months to September 30.
But Amazon workers were forbidden to go to the bathroom while on shift, and expected to complete tasks within 15 seconds, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) said.
“Workers are treated just like units of commerce,” SDA representative Josh Peak said on Friday.
“They are treated like robots.
“International, multi-billion-dollar tech companies do not get to pick and choose what rules they follow.”
The allegations were completely rejected by Amazon Australia, who said people were at the heart of their operations.
“We offer our fulfilment centre workers competitive pay, a safe and positive work environment and exciting career opportunities,” Amazon Australia Director of Operations Mindy Espidio-Garcia said.
“It is not true that unjust time expectations are set for tasks. Our team members are allowed to use the toilet whenever needed. We do not monitor toilet breaks. They can also take short breaks at any time to grab water.”
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