Some Amazon employees have been sleeping in tents near the warehouse where they work to save money, The Courier reports.
Amazon has previously faced scrutiny overs its employment practices, and the report is shining new light on the issue in the busy run-up to Christmas.
“At least three” tents were reportedly spotted in a forest near a fulfillment centre in Fife, Scotland, with one employee telling The Courier that they slept in a tent because it was cheaper than commuting every day.
Amazon warehouse employees start on less than the national living wage, and are closely monitored and tracked throughout the day to ensure they hit targets. The company has previously been criticised for its practices, with an expert on workplace stress telling the BBC that “the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment about the report, though it provided The Courier with the following statement (emphasis ours):
“Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace.
“The safety and wellbeing of our permanent and temporary associates is our number one priority.
“We are also proud to have been able to create several thousand new permanent roles in our UK fulfilment centres over the last five years.
“We pay competitive wages — all permanent and temporary Amazon associates start on £7.35 an hour or above regardless of age and £11 an hour and above for overtime.”
The minimum wage is currently £7.20 an hour for over-25-year-olds, and will rise to £7.50 in 2017. The living wage (outside of London) is £8.45 an hour.
On Sunday, the Times also published a first-hand account of working in an Amazon warehouse, written by an undercover reporter. They were penalised for taking a day off work because of a migraine (and providing a doctor’s note), heard complaints from other employees about “impossible” targets, and walked up to 14 miles a day, they wrote.
One other unusual nugget from the report is the claim that some Romanian woman working at the warehouse had stolen new iPhones by hiding them in their vaginas — something that Amazon denied.
“Amazon has found no evidence, record or suggestion of Romanian women smuggling phones out of the centre in their vaginas,” the company told The Times.
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