Amazon workers forced to sleep in tents, reports claim
Amazon faces accusations of fostering “intolerable working conditions” at a Scottish warehouse, following reports that some workers are camped in tents outside depots in order to save money commuting.
The complaints originated from Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Dunfermline, Fife, where activists have also claimed that staff can work up to 60 hours per week for very little money.
Speaking to The Courier, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie claimed that the situation is caused by the company charging employees for transportation. “The fares the company charge for transport swallow up a lot of the weekly wage,” he said, “which is forcing people to seek ever more desperate ways of making work pay.”
“It confirms that Amazon have created intolerable working conditions for many,” he told The Guardian. “The company don’t seem to be interested in keeping workers for too long as they work them until they drop. They have generated an oppressive culture where management and some workers put undue pressure on workers.”
A Sunday Times investigation also found that employees were punished for taking sick days, and that water was regularly unavailable despite some staff having to walk up to ten miles a day while on the job.
The company has previously come under fire for allegedly similar treatment of its delivery drivers, who were reportedly under such strict time pressures that they were forced to urinate in bottles and speed on the motorway.
Workers’ groups have also raised concerns about the impact Amazon’s increasing push towards automation – such as its cashierless Amazon Go store – will have on unskilled jobs.
The company told The Guardian that it offers “a safe and positive workplace with competitive pay and benefits from day one”, adding that “one of the reasons we’ve been able to attract so many people to join us is that we offer great jobs and a positive work environment with opportunities for growth”.