Working conditions at the UK warehouses of American e-commerce giant Amazon are getting worse, claimed the GMB Union as it called for a parliamentary inquiry. According to an investigation from the trade union, there have been more than 600 serious injuries or near misses at the company’s warehouses in the past three years.
GMB, one of Britain’s largest trade unions, said that the number of reports made from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have increased every year as the company continues to expand its logistics capabilities to meet growing online demand.
The trade union gave various examples of injuries reported to HSE, including a worker at a London warehouse who was knocked unconscious and stopped breathing following a head injury, and a worker in Manchester who fractured their hand after their fingers got caught in between the station sliding gate and the surrounding gate support.
“Amazon are spending millions on PR campaigns trying to persuade people its warehouses are great places to work. But the facts are there for all to see -- things are getting worse,” said Mick Rix, GMB national officer.
“We’ve tried over and over again to get Amazon to talk to try and improve safety for workers. But enough is enough – it’s now time for a full parliamentary inquiry.”
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, added: “In my 30 years in the world of work I cannot remember any company clock up so many injuries to its workers.
Amazon, whose founder and biggest shareholder Jeff Bezos has recently announced a $10 billion (£7.7bn) Earth Fund to fight climate change, denied the accusations. "Amazon is a safe place to work. Yet again, our critics seem determined to paint a false picture of what it's like to work for Amazon. They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again,” said a spokesman for the firm.
“Our doors are open to the public, to politicians, and indeed to anyone who truly wants to see the modern, innovate and, most importantly, safe environment we provide to our people.”