Saturday, November 18News For London

Amazon’s scandal: workers living in tents

The multinational Amazon, in charge of thousand of deliveries across the world, has been accused again of poor work conditions and misconduct. A few employees of its centre in Dunfermline, Scotland, have been found sleeping in tents outside the building in the middle of a wood. The retailer has been suffering this kind of accusations since last year GBM trade union declared workers shifts and environment were making them develop “physical and metal illnesses”.

The whole recent scandal was primarily discovered by The Times reporter, Mary O’Connor, who went undercover into the warehouse and found out that workers were underpaid and doing over 60 hours a week. A large number of them are seasonal workers hired to help with the Christmas deliveries. The journalist contacted the Liberal Democrat representative of the area, Willie Rennie, who was aware of the situation as we can read in a tweet from Ms. O’Connor’s account.


The recent incidents have proven at least 3 tents were set up by workers that have been using then to spent the night facing low temperatures and other weather adversities. They have declared anonymously they do so because they can’t afford to pay for travel costs from their houses to the warehouse, situated in the middle of a motorway. This way they make sure the arrive on time. A video of the improvised camp is available in the website of the local newspaper, The Courier.  According to the media a spokeswoman from Amazon answered the accusations saying: “Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace” and “The safety and wellbeing of our permanent and temporary associates is our number one priority. On their website they specify the following:

“Amazon has a 62% lower injury rate than other companies conducting warehousing activities, based on the latest available HSE reporting data. We continually monitor our practices and procedures to improve health and safety in our sites and focus continually on reducing risk, increasing consistency, improving systems and providing our employees with the skills they can use within and outside of our business.”

 

 

This is the tour video Amazon published to show us the functioning of a warehouse from the inside:

 

The giant retailer recently released its intentions of opening in the UK Amazon Go the next generation of grocery shopping where customers can walk in, choose what they want to buy and leave the shop as they came in.  Britt Beamer, president of the consulting firm America’s Research Group, called the initiative a “job-killer” as the store will no longer depend on cashiers.