karlinamillion

Amazon.....

57 posts in this topic

I watched the documentary on TV last week, I don't know how the workers last, it is such a demanding and tiring job. But what's the answer? People are not going to stop using Amazon just because the working conditions are bad, nobody cares. We live in a selfish society and most people will not question the origin of the goods they buy as long as they are cheap and readily available. (Nike are still making millions)

Amazon have been paid huge incentives to build their giant warehouses in areas of high unemployment so they will never be short of a workforce no matter how hard the job.

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We are all guilty whatever we all buy some one is exploited in some way for

it to be there on sale/delivered at that price.

If every price reflected fair pay,good working conditions,happy workers & so on

then we would be back to the few % who can & the rest who can't afford to buy.

IMHO!

Not everything Steve. There are still some companies that manage to work without exploitation and still offer good product at fair prices.

The problem Is knowledge and apathy. Some will not care, some will but not enough to act. For some price will always be above everything, for others ease. But don't mistakenly believe that it doesn't matter as they are all the same, they are not.

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I just think its a more common and widespread thing than we imagine. Most companies if they are looking to save money aim the gun squarely at employees first. It could be simple like not giving staff breaks but then it could be reduced pay, threatening behaviour regarding sick leave - all things I have experienced at my work place. Made me chuckle I quote "Night shifts at the retail giant’s warehouse can involve up to 11 miles of walking" this is typical of retail work, infact its pretty average. When there are no other jobs to be found or you are unskilled it is your only option.

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I just think its a more common and widespread thing than we imagine. Most companies if they are looking to save money aim the gun squarely at employees first. It could be simple like not giving staff breaks but then it could be reduced pay, threatening behaviour regarding sick leave - all things I have experienced at my work place. Made me chuckle I quote "Night shifts at the retail giant’s warehouse can involve up to 11 miles of walking" this is typical of retail work, infact its pretty average. When there are no other jobs to be found or you are unskilled it is your only option.

Agreed. There are loads of places that have employee conditions just the same, I know, I've worked for some of them in the past.

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Employee terms and conditions have gone backwards in the last 20 years.

There has to be a balance between the stranglehold that Unions had in the 70s and the total lack of any job security or rights for the employee. The balance has swung too far, with zero hour contracts and the use of sub contractors and making workers 'self employed' we have allowed a large section of society to slip inyto poverty.

The fact that these employees need to claim benefits on top of a a 'full time' wage to exist just means that the tax payer is subsidising the companies in the private sector. The ensuing profits that these companies make and the dividends paid to their shareholders are being paid by the state.

Not a bad situation for the private sector, they pay the minimum wage and don't provide proper working conditions and the state pick up the bill.

Something has to change. But as long as the masses get their 'opiate' (cheap goods) and the shareholders get their profits nothing will.

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I don't feel it is necessary to have working conditions like those I saw from Amazon. When I appointed a fulfilment house I contacted 6 and went to visit. The one I chose gave the impression of a very close-knit unit and my dealings with them ever since, and yes I speak to the workers in the warehouse too, have been very positive indeed. If anyone else is looking for a fulfilment house then check out Exact Abacus in Chorley, it's a million miles away from Amazon's yet utilises all the same sort of technology (without the countdown!).

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Panorama isn’t the investigative news programme it once was, sensationalism has largely replaced quality.

I’d like to hear the views of other Amazon workers - not just the ones who have been poked by the Guardian and Panorama to say whatever fits with their current Amazon bashing agenda - because I’ve read a number along the lines of:

“Ok guys I know panorama made Amazon look bad and as an employee myself at that very center it is not that bad granted it can be sometimes hard Labour and very tiring I feel that on the whole it's a good place to work we get regular breaks making the shift feel shorter weekly pay which is really good for Wales and we only do 40 hours a week so to me it is no worse than any other job I have had and no I was not played by them to post this.”

No doubt employment practices could be improved - the digital ‘manager’ especially.

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We all like to apportion blame, but being bold for a moment, I'm going to put my hand up and suggest I'm partially to blame. I like the convenience of Amazon. Frankly, as mentioned earlier in the thread, I think nobody cares like they used to about the quality of others lives.

what are we (you, me) prepared to do about it - that's the question,

Nothing of significance probably.

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We all like to apportion blame, but being bold for a moment, I'm going to put my hand up and suggest I'm partially to blame. I like the convenience of Amazon. Frankly, as mentioned earlier in the thread, I think nobody cares like they used to about the quality of others lives.

what are we (you, me) prepared to do about it - that's the question,

Nothing of significance probably.

Decent bit of honesty there, but it shows how the word 'convenience' has changed meaning somewhat.

Go back not that long & convenient was not having to get coal from the back yard, or having a toilet in your house.

Now it seems to mean not spending about 5 mins dragging your fingers over an iPad in order to find alternatives, which are often cheaper anyway.

(see this thread; looking for a fuji x100 Amazon £835, SLR hut £540 for instance)

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Decent bit of honesty there, but it shows how the word 'convenience' has changed meaning somewhat.

Go back not that long & convenient was not having to get coal from the back yard, or having a toilet in your house.

Now it seems to mean not spending about 5 mins dragging your fingers over an iPad in order to find alternatives, which are often cheaper anyway.

(see this thread; looking for a fuji x100 Amazon £835, SLR hut £540 for instance)

Lots of instances of that, for some i'm sure they think Amazon to be well priced even bargain.

Today i got bought Lego for an xmas present and if i'd got it from Amazon it would of been £55, go Lego direct and i got it for £35.

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We all like to apportion blame, but being bold for a moment, I'm going to put my hand up and suggest I'm partially to blame. I like the convenience of Amazon. Frankly, as mentioned earlier in the thread, I think nobody cares like they used to about the quality of others lives.

what are we (you, me) prepared to do about it - that's the question,

Nothing of significance probably.

Some of us are already boycotting Amazon & have been for some time.

I had the pleasure of visiting another wammer last week who, of his own volition, was buying his music elsewhere.

Its just plain laziness to:

1. Ignore what Amazon are doing in the UK.

2. Go to Amazon by default because you think it will be the cheapest.

My first port of call is to buy my records direct from a band's record label/website.

Its more personal, the band will see more of your money & you may just get a more desirable product.

If its a band you follow, by registering, they'll let you know about tours/new releases/specials etc.

Do Amazon do that?

Do they f#ck.

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Nearly 13 years ago....

Kevin Maguire

The Guardian, Saturday 14 April 2001 01.20 BST

Amazon.com was last night accused of operating the worst of old economy working practices at a giant warehouse dispatching books, music, DVDs and other goods bought over the internet across Britain.

Staff working for the world's biggest e-commerce trader at its Marston Gate depot near Milton Keynes have made a series of complaints to the Guardian about wages and conditions in the company.

The singer-songwriter Billy Bragg is threatening to organise a boycott of Amazon and the GPMU print and paper union, which has launched a recruitment drive at the site, will next week ask Acas, the advisory, conciliation and arbitration service, to intervene.

Union organiser Peter Lockhart said: "Behind the shiny facade of Amazon and the internet are poor pay, poor conditions, poor communications and poor management. It is anything but 'new age' inside that distribution centre."

The US firm, trading in Britain as Amazon.co.uk, yesterday strongly denied the allegations and said pay rates were comparable with those of other firms in the area.

"We are a hugely open and democratic company and we believe we do the very best for our employees," a spokeswoman said.

But GPMU officials believe the discontent explodes the myth of a groovier dot.com capitalism behind the technological slickness of online shopping with its discounts and home deliveries.

A number of workers who spoke on condition that their identities were not disclosed were highly critical of conditions in the giant green and white depot 200 yards from junction 13 on the M1.

According to employees, supervisors known as "leads" and managers continually clock-watch staff. One employee claimed that they shout at those who fail to meet demanding targets.

Staff say strict quotas are imposed with a "picker" forced to select three items a minute from the warehouse's shelves and a "packer" to parcel an average 2.5 orders a minute.

One employee claimed they were required to push a trolley for what felt like up to 20 miles in a night to fill it with books and CDs named on computer-printed lists. The company said the distance was "nowhere like that".

The 11-hour night shift stretching from 7.30pm to 6.30am includes an unpaid one-hour meal break at 1am and Marston Gate has no canteen, staff taking in their own food or using vending machines. Two shorter rest periods, however, are paid.

The union said a standard 23 days' holiday included bank holidays, and the pay rate is £5.50 an hour plus a £1 hourly bonus for night staff who are rostered four shifts a week.

"They offer the minimum needed to hire people around Milton Keynes and don't seem to care about the turnover," said Mr Lockhart.

An employee claimed that ethnic miniority staff felt they were frequently overlooked for promotion, an allegation denied particularly forcefully by Amazon which said in recent months two black or Asian employees had been appointed to management posts.

Managers recently took handwriting samples from staff after a note criticising the working conditions was sent out with an order by a disgruntled worker.

"They are looking at you all the time. It is not pleasant," said one employee.

Another said: "I need the job but I would not advise my friends to work there. It's not good. If they say I am valued, they have a funny way of showing it. They don't care about us."

Union leaders intend to make Amazon a test case to break into the unorganised dot.com sector and the GPMU, which had four members at Amazon last October, has signed up 92 out of an estimated workforce of 270 after a recruitment campaign.

The union said that last autumn Amazon rebuffed GPMU overtures to secure bargaining rights but Mr Lockhart said the union has since passed the 10% threshold in law to trigger a recognition ballot. The company said it had met the union but had received "no formal communication".

Another option the union is considering is to continue recruiting with the aim of enrolling 50% of the workforce plus at least one other since that would guarantee automatic recognition.

Amazon, which has its UK head office in Slough, said yesterday wages were competitive "within the bands" around Milton Keynes and staff were provided with private medical insurance and share options, although the options have plunged since the collapse in the value of internet firms.

The spokeswoman said: "There are obviously two sides to this. We really believe that we do the best for our workforce and the feedback that we have is positive."

Amazon has a company council, including representatives of the workforce, which the dot.com maintains allowed open debate and the GPMU insists is dominated by management.

Sales at the world's biggest online supplier are projected to reach £3bn this year but losses remain huge

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I buy from Amazon and will continue to do so because frankly I have no evidence that Tesco/M&S etc treat their people any better and I do think the BBC like to paint shall I say I somewhat one sided view. And frankly if you came into our organisation you will find staff who claim they over overworked/underpaid/down trodden.

The truth is even in these high tech days of automation etc there are low-end physical tasks - is it any worse than working on a building site in the middle of December/January?

Wasn't the minimum wage/working hours directive meant to solve this issue?

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