A HERMES whistleblower has unveiled snaps of the chaotic conditions inside one of the firm’s warehouses.
The former worker claims on one occasion she was “buried up to her shoulders” in parcels and had to be hauled out by a colleague.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared the pictures on Wednesday after quitting her job as an overnight worker at the Dundee centre.
Her pictures show parcels strewn waist high next to a conveyor belt.
Another whistleblower, Thomas Ferrier, a driver from Alloa, Clackmannanshire, has released his own pictures, taken when he was delivering parcels for Hermes, which show the equally chaotic state of vans.
Thomas claims this made the job so stressful he contemplated “driving the van “over a cliff and “ending it all”.
The anonymous warehouse worker said today: “Things were just the same as in the photos and that’s one of the reasons I finally left. Staff are being overworked and their health and safety is at risk.
“At one point I was buried up to my shoulders in parcels and another member of staff had to come and pull me out.
“I had a panic attack. I felt trapped and like I couldn’t breathe.
“We were often short staffed and the belts moved too quickly, so it was impossible to keep up.”
She added: “You couldn’t get to fire exits because we were buried up to our knees in packages.
“I’ve had people find me on Facebook to message me and complain that they haven’t received their parcels.
“It was just chaotic, a health and safety hazard. It was getting to the point where I could not take it anymore.”
The woman says her girlfriend also suffered homophobic abuse from a manager who called her a “F****** f***ot”.
She also claims that working hours were “slave-like”, with managers restricting toilet breaks and refusing to allow time off for medical appointments.
Thomas posted online saying: “The photos show how you had to find addresses and s*** in a mess like that. There was no actual structure in place. Nothing was ever regimental or made easy.
“I was struggling to live. Driving home some days at like 10pm thinking to myself, I really could just drive this van over a cliff and end it all.”
Speaking today, he also claimed he was told to “p*** in a bottle” to save time on deliveries.
He added: “You are entitled to half an hour break a day but there is no time to stop for food.
“You have to eat on the go while driving, even told to p*** in a bottle if you are out to save time.”
A Hermes spokeswoman said: “A new management team has been in place at the depot since May 2019 and has made numerous changes to the working conditions.
“This includes an hourly pay increase for all warehouse staff and an 8-hour shift system, with a clear start and finish time, and optional overtime.”
Hermes deny claims of restrictions on toilet breaks but admit an investigation was carried out into the allegation of homophobic abuse. This ended when both parties resigned.
They added: “Thomas Ferrier was employed by a local third-party contractor who is responsible for raising any issues and handling any concerns he may have had about his working conditions or pay.
“We have well documented standards that we expect our suppliers to adhere to which includes staff treatment and will be investigating these claims with them.”
Hermes claim the pictures are at least a year old but the warehouse worker said today: “One of the pictures shows an employee who has only been working at the warehouse for five months.”