Amazon workers stage strike on Black Friday

BERLIN — Workers at Amazon distribution centers in Germany have gone on strike for better pay on Black Friday, one of the busiest days of the year for the online retailer.

Union ver.di said Friday that the walkouts began overnight at six distribution centers across the country, with some due to last until Tuesday.

Union representative Orhan Akman said Amazon staff want to send a signal that their work can’t be bought with the kind of extreme discounts Amazon offers around this time of the year.

Akman also accused the company of putting “extreme pressure” on staff that’s causing some to fall ill.

Amazon said in an emailed statement that “packages are arriving punctually, because the bulk of employees is dealing completely normally with customers’ orders today.”

It said that it offers pay “at the upper end of comparable jobs” and other benefits.

According to the Auto Component Manufacturers Association of India, car deliveries in August dropped 41% from a year earlier while truck and bus sales fell 39%.

PG&E says blackouts limited fires despite 1 likely failure

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The nation’s largest utility said Friday that its distribution lines have sparked no damaging wildfires since it began repeatedly shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Northern California customers this fall.

But Pacific Gas & Electric is not ruling out that failed transmission equipment may have started a fire in wine country north of San Francisco that damaged or destroyed more than 400 structures.

Authorities have not determined what sparked the wildfire in Sonoma County last month, but the utility has said it had a problem at a transmission tower near where the fire ignited.

It had shut off power to distribution lines to prevent its equipment from igniting wildfires, but left electricity flowing through what it believed were less vulnerable transmission lines. PG&E said in a court filing Friday that it is not aware of similar vulnerable equipment elsewhere.

“In 2019, there have been no fatalities and no structures destroyed in any wildfire that may have been caused by PG&E distribution lines,” the company said.

That’s in sharp contrast to recent years, despite the potential blame it faces for sparking last month’s damaging wildfire.

PG&E acknowledges its equipment caused last year’s Camp Fire that ravaged the Sierra Nevada foothills community of Paradise, destroying nearly 19,000 buildings and killing 85 people.

India’s economic growth slips to 4.5%

NEW DELHI — India’s economic growth slipped to 4.5%, its slowest pace in six years, in the July-September quarter, with the labor-intensive manufacturing sector contracting.

The Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation said Friday that manufacturing output shrank by 1% compared to 6.9% growth a year earlier. It said consumer demand and private investment weakened and a global slowdown hit India’s exports.

The economy grew 5% in the April-June quarter.

Many economists believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization of currency in 2016 and a hasty rollout of a goods and services tax inflicted blows to manufacturing, especially the auto sector.

The Associated Press

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