Newspapers expose poor working conditions at Amazon

A report in the Guardian newspaper this weekend says that Amazon has been accused of creating “intolerable working conditions” for its staff. This is after allegations that some workers have been penalised for sick days and others are camping near one of its warehouses to save money on the cost of commuting.

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has said that Amazon should be ‘ashamed’ that some Amazon workers at the fulfilment centre in Dunfermline have chosen to camp outside this winter.

The Courier newspaper published photos of tents near the fulfilment centre that it claimed were being used by Amazon workers. At least three tents were pitched near the centre, by the M90 in Dunfermline, and also that one of the residents said he was an employee of the company who normally lives in Perth.

A third newspaper, this time the Sunday Times has investigated the online giant and found that temporary workers were penalised for taking time off sick and were also put under pressure to hit targets for picking orders. The newspaper also claimed that while some workers could walk nearly 10 miles a day as part of their work, water dispensers were frequently empty.

For the peak period around Christmas, Amazon has taken on 20,000 agency workers to cover the demand. These staff must pay to catch an agency supplied bus to the fulfilment centre.

Lib Dem leader Rennie has called for Amazon to improve working conditions at the Dunfermline site and said to the Guardian that the claims by the Times “chimes with the feedback I have received from local people over a long period of time”.

Rennie continued: “It confirms that Amazon have created intolerable working conditions for many. The company don’t seem to be interested in keeping workers for too long as they work them until they drop. They have generated an oppressive culture where management and some workers put undue pressure on workers.

“It’s time for Amazon to finally change their ways. That means a change to wages and to working conditions.”
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