GMB Union has called out the ‘inhumanity’ of working conditions at Amazon, after research revealed workers are more likely to suffer injuries in the run up to key sales events.
Investigations by GMB found that the number of ambulance call-outs from Amazon warehouses spikes in the run up to events such as Black Friday and Christmas.
Amazon workers have broken bones and been knocked unconscious. Some have had to stand for hours while pregnant. And some have needed ambulances due to breathing problems and chest pains, according to the union’s research.
Data from three ambulance trusts from 2016 to 2019 showed that ambulances responded to calls from Amazon warehouses 23 and 29 times in October and November respectively. These figures before Black Friday and Christmas were much higher than the eight calls outs each in May and June.
Another Amazon employee described how the speed they’re encouraged to work at stops workers from taking health and safety precautions.
Amazon workers have protested against the working conditions in warehouses. Some employees have also said they have had problems accessing sick pay when needed.
‘Dangerous, stressful place to work’
According to previous GMB research in 2018, Amazon warehouses called ambulances 600 times during a three-year period. More than half of these calls resulted in hospitalisation.
More than 600 serious health and safety incidents were also reported at Amazon warehouses over 36 months 2015 to 2018.
GMB National Officer Mick Rix said:
We know Amazon fulfilment centres are dangerous, stressful places to work at the best of times. In the run up to key sales events like Prime Day the inhumanity of working conditions at Amazon warehouses goes into overdrive.
Workers are expected to operate like robots gone haywire, picking and packing at a furious rate to meet completely unrealistic targets. It’s time for the richest company in the world to invest in safety, sit down with GMB and make sure staff work in a safe environment.
Coinciding with Prime Day today, GMB has launched a place for workers to report safety incidents and concerns.
A spokesperson for Amazon said:
Amazon is a safe place to work. Yet again, our critics seem determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work for Amazon. They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again.
Featured image via Flickr/Maryland GovPics
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?