GMB slams buoyant Amazon over working conditions
Amazon has announced that revenues for the first quarter jumped 43% to £36.7 billion and net income more than doubled to £1.15 billion. But these blockbuster results are built on treating workers like robots, according to the GMB union.
It cites a former employee who claimed workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staffordshire resorted to peeing in bottles because the toilets were too far away. According to the GMB, its members working at the e-commerce giant have described conditions as ‘slave labour’. Meanwhile, delivery drivers have told how they are forced to deliver 200 parcels a day with no time for toilet breaks.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, says: “This is a company that makes fantastical sums of money, so why do its workers report "hellish” working conditions? Why are they ending up urinating into plastic bottles? It’s inhuman, degrading and demeaning. Amazon can more than afford to provide decent terms and conditions for their workers. Why are they being sold down the river? GMB is here to provide a voice for our members. Companies like Amazon should be treating staff with respect, not treating them like robots.”
In response, Amazon insisted that it provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK, with competitive pay and benefits from day one, and doesn't recognise the GMB's claims as an accurate portrayal of activities in its buildings.
"We also offer public tours of our fulfilment centres so customers can see first-hand what happens after they click “buy” on Amazon," it added. "We are committed to ensuring that the people contracted by our independent delivery providers are fairly compensated, treated with respect, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely."
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