Amazon's UK Warehouses Resemble a 19th-Century Cotton Mill, Says Staff Union

By Gary Cutlack on at

Amazon employees in the UK are suffering from stress and general misery too, according to one trade union, with factory workers facing near insurmountable demands on their time and management orders similar to those faced by orphaned children put to work in the industrial revolution.

This claim comes from GMB union organiser Martin Smith, who agrees with the New York Times's assessment of working conditions for a lot of Amazon staff and therefore disagrees with Jeff's memo of denial, saying: "There’s nothing new in these management conditions. A worker in a 19th-century cotton mill would recognise some of the management techniques Amazon have adopted. But obviously we’re working with all Amazon staff to try and build the union to make sure they get some more respect and better treatment from their management."

Smith makes the claim that Amazon staffers are literally running about the warehouse to meet our demands for nice things to arrive in the post on time, continuing: "What [Amazon workers] are expected to do in a day is shocking. A lot of our members say the expectations are almost impossible. For the warehouse workers, they have to fulfill orders from one side of a huge warehouse to the next at a run.

"It’s the only way they can literally do it. People feel that they have to run a half-marathon on every shift -- it’s impossible to sustain for more than three to six months maximum."

Smith makes the sad accusation that Amazon is deliberately sighting its UK packing centres in areas of deprivation, making it a modern day meat factory -- a job of last resort for people with little in the way of choice. [The National]

Image credit: Cotton Mill from Shutterstock