Amazon has responded to the criticisms raised by a BBC investigation into working conditions at one of its warehouses.
BBC Panorama sent reporter Adam Littler to work as a ‘picker’ in Amazon’s 800,000 square-foot Swansea ‘fulfilment centre’.
Recording footage using a hidden camera, Littler said he walked up to 11 miles during a single shift and was expected to collect orders every 33 seconds.
The BBC offered the footage to Professor Marmot, a “leading expert on stress at work”, who claimed that “the evidence showed increased risk of mental illness and physical illness".
In response to the criticisms, Amazon released a statement “strongly refuting the charge that Amazon exploits its employees in any way”.
“The safety of our associates is our number one priority, and we adhere to all regulations and employment law,” the post continued.
“We provide competitive wages and stock grants which over the past five years have added an average of 12 per cent to base pay annually.”
“Additionally, we provide a raft of benefits.”
Amazon also opposed the statements made by Prof Marmot, saying it had “retained an independent expert who has visited our buildings and associates.”
“In the independent expert’s opinion, a picking role is similar to jobs in many other industries and does not increase the risk of mental and physical illness.”
“Amazon is proud to have a highly favourable safety rate compared to companies in the same industry,” it added.
“From April 2012 to October 2013, Amazon’s RIDDOR rate (the “Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations” as defined by the UK Health and Safety Executive) was less than 40 per cent of the average for companies reporting under the same industry code.“
The post ended with Amazon’s reassurance that it was focused on improving.
“We understand that our progress depends on good execution and good judgment from thousands of employees,” it said.
“Together, we’re working hard to make sure that we are better tomorrow than we are today.”