The GMB trade union is currently picketing nine Amazon sites in a protest against the retailer’s tax arrangements, a failure to provide a living wage to its employees and its refusal to allow union representation.
The campaign, which has been named ‘ASBO for Amazon’, has been launched after the union received claims of a culture of bullying and endemic harassment through the ‘dataveillance’ system of arm mounted terminals. These terminals direct the employee from task to task, reportedly with no agreed protocols, such as giving breaks or working to human speeds.
In addition, the GMB claims that workers are paid just one pence more than minimum wage and that union activity has to be kept underground for fear of reprisals.
“Where [Amazon] differs from other retailers is its refusal to pay proper taxes or to treat its workers properly. Profitable companies like Amazon dodging fair taxes while failing to pay their staff a living wage and treat them properly deserve a corporate ASBO,” said the GMB’s national organiser, Paul Clarke.
“This gives Amazon an unfair competitive advantage and is part of the reason why so many established high street names are going to the wall. GMB plan to strip away the high tech image and expose the exploitation involved in their business model.”