Amazon workers are about to get a holiday bonus.

Declan McCullagh/CNET

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Amazon said Thursday it’s giving a special holiday bonus of $300 to its front-line employees — those most at risk of contracting the coronavirus — in appreciation of their hard work as the holiday shopping season nears its peak. It came as Amazon warehouse workers in several countries prepared to stage strikes and protests on Black Friday, according to Vice.

Full-time employees from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 are eligible for the bonus, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of retail operations, wrote in a company blog post Thursday. Part-time workers employed during the same period will receive a $150 bonus, he said.

“Our teams are doing amazing work serving customers’ essential needs, while also helping to bring some much-needed holiday cheer for socially-distanced families around the world,” Clark wrote, adding that he’s “never been more grateful for — or proud of — our teams.”

However, workers in the US, the UK, Mexico, Brazil, India, Australia and nine other countries are planning to carry out strikes and protests on Black Friday, one of the e-commerce giant’s major sale days of the year, Vice reported Thursday. They’ll demand that the company improve conditions and pay, as well as respecting their right to organize — a collective effort known as #MakeAmazonPay.

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The lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a driving force for Amazon, which saw its profit triple in the third quarter. But the company also struggled to implement new safety features in its warehouses, as workers repeatedly protested for better protections from the coronavirus.

Amazon spent billions of dollars to tackle these problems, hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers to handle the spike in consumer demand and adding dozens of new safety measures including a testing regime, masks and more rigorous cleanings.

The company disclosed last month that nearly 20,000 of its US workers contracted COVID-19, a sign that its work to contain the virus in its workforce may be far from over.

The round of bonuses, which total $500 million, comes after Amazon announced in June it would pay out $500 million in one-time bonuses to front-line employees.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the protests.

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