Amazon warehouse workers were fired via text last Christmas, anonymous staffer claims

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesAmazon workers were reportedly fired via text.
  • An anonymous Amazon employee wrote in The Guardian that seasonal warehouse workers were fired via text the day after Christmas last year.
  • Amazon brings in lots of seasonal workers for “peak,” the six week period which runs from a week before Black Friday up until Christmas.
  • According to the anonymous worker, texts were then sent out asking employees to volunteer for overtime.

An anonymous Amazon worker has written a column in The Guardian describing what it’s like to work at an Amazon warehouse, or “fulfilment center,” at Christmas.

The period from the week before Black Friday running through to Christmas is called “peak,” and is when warehouse workers are expected to put in more hours in shift patterns that can add up to about 60 hours a week, according to the anonymous employee.

Typically, Amazon brings in seasonal workers to help cope with the increased workload, and the anonymous writer claims that they double the workforce with these employees who are “paid less, not given benefits, and put on a restrictive time-off allowance, ensuring they will be working through the holiday season.”

The staffer, who works in a warehouse in the US, said that last year seasonal employees were laid off the day after Christmas Day via text.

Read more:They treat us like disposable parts’: An Amazon warehouse worker is waging war on working conditions in a new anonymous newspaper column

“Last year, that was when the culling of seasonal associates began, people [were] fired mid-shift by text message,” the worker said. “Not an hour later, texts went out seeking volunteers for overtime for the next two weeks.”

Reportedly these texts were accidentally sent to some of the employees who had just been fired, prompting a friend of the writer to kick a pallet over, say “f–k this” and march out of the building.

An Amazon spokeswoman told Business Insider in a statement:

“This series by the Guardian is just plain poor journalism – it lacks facts and is based on a clear bias. The anonymous individual is wrong on multiple points with every column. In this episode they are clearly misstating the facts on pay – our seasonal associates are paid the same as full-time associates – a minimum of $US15/hour. Also, it is not company practice to release anyone by text and we can find no evidence this actually occurred. When someone ends a seasonal role with us, we are grateful for what they have done to provide a great customer experience and expect our teams to treat them with great care and respect.”

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