A recent exposé from Bloomberg Businessweek painted a critical picture of Amazon’s work environment for executives, but a petition currently gaining momentum in the UK suggests that things are far worse for some of the company’s warehouse staff. The Guardian points us to a petition on Change.org that had collected nearly 45,000 signatures as of the time of this writing. Under the heading “@AmazonUK: This Christmas, pay the Living Wage across UK operations,” the petition suggests that Amazon’s seasonal warehouse staff faces “demeaning” working conditions and also that they “won’t earn enough to buy the bare essentials of life” due to Amazon’s low wages for agency staff. The petition is accompanied by the following letter:
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Amazon, please become a Living Wage employer across UK operations
I have signed this petition to call on you to pay all your workers in the UK, including contracted workers, the Living Wage. This is the amount needed to provide the essentials of life. You can find out more about the Living Wage and how to become an accredited Living Wage employer on the Living Wage Foundation’s website: http://www.livingwage.org.uk/.
Amazon is a hugely successful company. With UK sales last year of £4.2bn, I believe that you can afford to pay your workers the Living Wage. Doing so would benefit their wellbeing and their families, but it would also potentially improve their productivity and reduce absenteeism. As such, becoming a Living Wage employer would benefit not only your workforce but your company too.
Please do what’s best for society and for business: become a Living Wage employer across your UK operations.
“It is a company that has really permeated all of our lives – and a lot of my friends and family are buying their Christmas presents from there – but Amazon aren’t paying the people who are packing them enough to live off,” ShareAction’s Emily Kenway, who started the petition, told The Guardian.
Amazon’s only response to the petition was to provide a link to a page on its website, which details the working arrangements at the company’s fulfillment centers.