Amazon drivers and warehouse staff in the UK have called on the online retail giant to stop forcing them to work at an ‘inhuman pace’.
An open letter signed by 135 workers pleads with the company to ‘bin unfair targets’ and end the ‘constant surveillance’.
With Prime Day pushing them harder than ever, they said: ‘Working in an Amazon warehouse today is so stressful. Even the tools we use, like scanners, are tracking us.
‘We’re always worried about how many seconds we have left to pick up a parcel. We can’t even see all of the targets you track – and it makes it impossible for us to know if our jobs are ever safe. We try to keep up, but it wears people out.’
Martha Dark, director at legal group Foxglove, which is helping the Amazon staff, said: ‘Everybody loves a sale, but Prime Day is one of the most dangerous times of the year for Amazon staff.
‘Workers have had it with this inhuman pace. It’s not worth risking people’s lives for cheap toasters and TVs.’
Amazon drivers and warehouse staff in the UK have called on the online retail giant to stop forcing them to work at an ‘inhuman pace’
It was reported last year that ambulances had been called to the firm’s ‘fulfilment centres’ nearly 1,000 times since 2018 – including 178 callouts to its site in Tilbury, Essex (pictured)
Amazon could run out of warehouse staff to hire in the US by 2024
Amazon could run out of new people to hire by 2024, with the company burning through its entire warehouse workforce annually thanks to grueling shifts, a leaked internal document reveals.
The document, first reported by Recode, includes the words: ‘If we continue business as usual, Amazon will deplete the available labor supply in the US network by 2024.’
The document was published internally in 2021.
According to Recode, an Amazon spokesperson did not refute its authenticity.
With nine in ten UK shoppers using Amazon, the company’s UK sales have grown from £3 billion to nearly £27 billion in a decade.
It currently employs around 33,000 people within its warehouse and logistics workforce.
The pandemic has only added to the rise of online shopping, with over half (55 per cent) of shoppers saying Amazon had proven essential during the lockdowns in 2020.
But staff have told how the pressure put on them to deliver such targets has turned them into ‘slaves’ and robots’.
It was reported last year that ambulances had been called to the firm’s ‘fulfilment centres’ nearly 1,000 times since 2018 – including 178 callouts to its site in Tilbury, Essex.
One Amazon worker who works at Amazon’s Midlands site told how they had been ‘unfairly’ sanctioned over a recurring health issue.
They claimed they had to keep coming in to work while unwell as a single day off would extend the sanction and lead to more disciplinary issues.
Speaking to the Daily Mail under the condition of anonymity, they said: ‘This led me to feel worthless for talking about my illness in the first place as it only made the situation worse.
‘I felt like a robot, a slave, with no option but to come to work simply to survive.
In 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 full-time Amazon warehouse employee, nearly double the rate of the serious injuries recorded at non-Amazon warehouses
‘The company needs to be fairer on its staff and treat its employees respectfully not just as numbers if it ever wants to turn around its image in the public eye.’
Last week it was announced the company was being investigated by the UK’s competition watchdog over practices that may have led to millions of British customers being offered a worse deal.
Officials are looking into allegations the company has been favouring its own sellers over independent rivals, while also probing whether it is using the sales data it takes from thousands of UK businesses using the marketplace to make its own offers more competitive.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it was vital the company was operating a fair marketplace.
Ms Dark said: ‘Amazon needs to put this right. They need to stop the surveillance, bin the unfair targets and respect workers’ right to form a union now.’
With Prime Day pushing them harder than ever, they said: ‘Working in an Amazon warehouse today is so stressful. Even the tools we use, like scanners, are tracking us’
An Amazon spokesman said: ‘We’re proud of the safe and modern working environments that our teams work in and on Prime day, and indeed every day of the year, the safety of our employees is our number one priority.
‘In fact Amazon has 40 per cent fewer injuries on average compared to other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK.
‘Like most companies, we have a system that recognises great performance and also encourages coaching to help employees improve if they are not meeting their performance goals.
‘Performance metrics are regularly evaluated and built on benchmarks based on actual attainable employee performance history.
‘We look at the performance that associates are naturally setting and then set the benchmarks from there with a focus on safety in mind.’