- An Amazon worker has begun writing a column in The Guardian about the working conditions and corporate culture at Amazon’s warehouses.
- The worker is a “fulfilment associate” and said that while management pays lip service to staff welfare, workers are treated like “disposable parts.”
- Working conditions at Amazon’s fulfilment centres have increasingly come under fire following reports of staff being put under immense pressure to hit targets.
- Amazon has always insisted it provides a safe and positive workplace for workers, while a top executive said last month that warehouse horror stories are a “myth.”
An anonymous Amazon worker has begun writing a column for The Guardian about the working conditions at Amazon’s warehouses, or fulfilment centres.
The column, titled “Amazon Diaries,” will be published every other week. In its first instalment, the writer described their first day as an Amazon fulfilment associate.
They were shown an inverted pyramid chart, which signified how important different people are to the company. They were told at the top were customers, just underneath were warehouse workers, and right at the bottom was Amazon CEO and the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos.
The anonymous worker went on to destroy this image of worker care. “After a few months at the company, it becomes clear to most of us that management doesn’t regard us a [sic] crucial contributors to its success. In reality, they treat us like disposable parts,” the worker wrote.
The insider described various worker injuries – listing things including “blown backs” and “balky knees” – that go ignored by management, discrimination, and an “emotionally toxic culture.”
It is far from the first time reports have emerged of poor working conditions at Amazon.
British journalist James Bloodworth went undercover at a fulfilment center and told Business Insider that the atmosphere was like a “prison.” He said he came across a bottle of urine because workers were under such pressure to meet targets, they would pee in bottles to save time.
At the time, Amazon said it “provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one. We are committed to treating every one of our associates with dignity and respect. We don’t recognise these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”
Similar reports also drew the ire of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said in August that he would call for an investigation into “unsafe working conditions” at Amazon’s warehouses. This was before Sanders helped convince Bezos to raise Amazon’s minimum wage to $US15 an hour.
A top Amazon executive subsequently refuted horror stories about working conditions at Amazon, calling them “myths.”
Business Insider contacted Amazon for comment.