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News Amazon Under fire Over Working Conditions

Discussion in 'Business News & Resources' started by Cody, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Cody

    Cody

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    Feb 17, 2016
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    An undercover reporter from the Sunday Mirror says that 'Amazon has recognised humans are the least efficient part of the operation', and that by treating its workers as 'expendable commodities' the eCommerce giant makes more money.

    Amazon have yet again landed themselves into a heap of trouble following these allegations, after an undercover reporter worked at Amazon's Tilbury warehouse in Essex for five weeks in the run up to Black Friday.

    The reporter documents his findings in a piece called "Undercover at Amazon: Exhausted humans are inefficient so robots are taking over". Included in the article are video footages showing the physical demands of the warehouse working conditions.
    [​IMG]
    Some of these demands include unrealistic targets, with one of them being to pack at least two items per minute - meaning this would add up to around 200 items (minimum) per hour.

    The Mirror reporter said if this particular target is not met, the workers could face being fired for failing to meet targets.

    The workers of this Tilbury warehouse would also be forced to work overtime, amounting to 55 hour weeks. With some of these workers falling asleep on the job, only given half-hour breaks, not being able to sit down, and being monitored by computers and cameras, ambulances have been called to this warehouse a number of times due to the stress this has caused on their heath.

    [​IMG]

    On top of this, working for a measly £8.20 an hour, with some staff having to pay over £4 a day for travel to get to the warehouse, one would wonder, what is the point? Especially when these workers are what made the retail giant a whopping £7.3billion last year alone, and made Jeff Bezos an extra £1.8billion overnight on Black Friday, one of the busiest days for these Amazon workers.

    The reporter, Alan Shelby, revealed what working at the eCommerce giant's warehouse is really like, stating: "Alone in a locked metal cage, 10 feet from my nearest colleague, a robot approaches from the shadows and thrusts a tower of shelves towards me. I have nine seconds to grab and process an item to be sent for packing - a target of 300 items an hour, for hour after relentless hour.

    As I bend to the floor then reach high above my head to fulfil a never-ending stream of orders, my body screams at me
    ."

    If this doesn't sound stressful and demanding enough as it is, you also have cameras watching your every move, along with a screen in front of you reminding you of your "units per hour" and how long you have taken to pack each item.

    Although it appears Amazon are heavily investing in technology and automation elsewhere, it may look like they're not investing in the right places or the people.

    If you treat your staff like robots, they become robots. Lifeless.

    Have you worked at any Amazon fulfilment centres, and if so, what are your experiences? Is this really what it's like, or has it all been blown out of proportion?​
  2. Gary

    Gary

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    Aug 22, 2009
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    I would literally walk out on the first day, though unfortunately most wouldn't have that choice. It's greedy corporations keeping the budget down while Bezos sits rich knowing that if half their workforce quit there will be another ten times as many needing a job, modern day slavery, or at least that's what this, and some other places seem to look/sound like to me.
    Erik likes this.
  3. Oliver

    Oliver

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    Spot on. They know they are in a position of power and abuse it. Know people are desperate for work and therefore can be put on and abused
    Gary and Erik like this.
  4. Oliver

    Oliver

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    Looking at the basics for FBA costs
    50p Pick and pack fee alone for the media markets. 300 items an hour £150 in fees from there alone per worker. Crazy money
    Gary likes this.
  5. Erik

    Erik

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    Sep 26, 2012
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    Very true, guys.

    Sad thing about this is that some workers have no choice about this kind of staff treatment. It's either you suck it up, or have no job at all. I don't think Amazon is the only company that does this, other huge corporations are likely doing the same, might even go as far as "bartering" with fresh employees to lower down salaries before officially signing a contract.

    Companies should I think be at least a bit more mindful about staff - albeit huge corporations up above think what they are doing is right, they might not notice what's happening further down the food chain. I think the best way is for these higher ups, be it their board or the highest officials, take a regular check on the situation of staff at the bottom. These guys usually work the hardest, and at the poorest of conditions. Benefits help, but not that much. It's the pay grade that's important, and need to consider how much each staff is bringing home to their families.

    Whatever, likely it's just wishful thinking.
    Gary likes this.
  6. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    That warehouse has not been long open either. (I think it opened this Spring). You would think they would have learnt there lessons from previous bad press.
  7. Kingamer

    Kingamer

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    Just want to add that the high up will know what's going on as they are the ones who set the targets and if they think that picking and packing even 100 items an hour can be achieved then maybe they should try it for a few hours and see how it feels.

    90% of warehouse staff will be agency works with limited options.



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