Trade unions want protest at a global company’s HQ over “abuse of workers”

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AS a global company meets for its Annual Shareholder Meeting, activists from trade unions will gather outside the company’s HQ.

GMB, ITF, and War On want to protest at Amazon HQ over “the company’s worldwide abuse of workers.”

According to GMB, Amazon is refusing to make sure factory workers laid off during the pandemic get the severance pay they are still owed.

Amazon - Business News Scotland
Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash. Amazon’s net profits shot up by 84% during 2020 during the pandemic, and it now has a net worth of £222 billion.

“In the UK, there were more than 600 ambulance call-outs to Amazon warehouses and additional 600 serious injuries or near misses during a three-year period.” say the GMB

Mick Rix, GMB Union National Officer, said: “Amazon’s treatment of garment workers is yet another example of the disrespect the company shows towards working people.  

“It’s high time UK lawmakers held Amazon’s unchecked abuse of workers to account and held a Parliamentary enquiry into the company’s behaviour.” 

Amazon - Business News Scotland (1)
Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash. Job adverts for Amazon’s UK fulfillment show the company routinely breaches its own policies against using zero-hours contracts, according to trade unions.

An Amazon spokesperson has said: “Critics attack Amazon on many different topics and we have become a beacon for organisations and individuals wanting to raise awareness for their causes. 

“The fact is Amazon is a safe place to work, yet some self-interested organisations are determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work here.

“They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again. 

“We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other major employers in the communities we operate in.”

ambulance - Business News Scotland
Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash. Amazon also commented on the accusations of ambulance call-outs.

The company said: “Using absolute ambulance numbers to suggest that a workplace is not safe is simply wrong because it does not take into consideration hours worked, population-size and whether they are work related.

“If you want a true assessment of Amazon’s safety record, we benchmark against UK national data, published by the Health & Safety Executive, confirming we have over 40% fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK.”

They also commented on zero hour contracts saying: “Amazon created 10,000 new permanent roles across the UK in 2020, including for many people whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic, bringing the total workforce to 40,000 people.

“Additionally, a further 20,000 seasonal positions were created for the festive period at sites across the country.

“Our agency terms are explicit that Amazon does not engage individuals on zero hour contracts.

“Associates on temporary assignments at Amazon, who are employed by agencies, work a range of shifts from full-time to part-time, however in the majority of cases a 40-hour week is offered.

“Many who join us on temporary assignments do remain with us and take permanent positions but, at the same time, we do have to say goodbye to some.

“We thank them for their hard work and dedication and encourage them to stay in contact for future opportunities.”