An investigation into working conditions in an Amazon warehouse in Tilbury has claimed staff are exhausted.
Cameras monitor every move as employees try to process up to 300 items an hour, it has been alleged, with screens reminding them if they are falling short.
Amazon’s staff are falling asleep on their feet and being taken away in ambulances as they struggle to meet warehouse targets, an investigation in the Sunday Mirror has claimed.
An undercover reporter for the Sunday Mirror who spent five weeks there, working ‘alone in a locked metal cage’, suggested workers suffer mentally and physically as they try to meet demand.
The undercover reporter states the Tilbury site in Essex, the online giant’s biggest European packing plant, is set to be shipping 1.2 million items a year.
To meet demand staff are falling asleep on their feet, exhausted from toiling for up to 55 hours a week, with shifts beginning at 7.30am and ending at 6pm in a warehouse with no natural light it is claimed.
Many of the clocks have been covered over with tape by employees desperate not to be reminded how long is left of their shift, working under Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Timed toilets breaks and two half hour breaks for food, the reporter explained, were the only respite from the physically demanding and pressurised work environment.
To make matters worse it is alleged some staff are paid less than the working wage for their shifts which saw the reporter walk 10 miles a day.
Why are we not allowed to sit when it is quiet and not busy? We are human beings, not slaves and animals.
Another worker told the Sunday Mirror:
I expected it to be all modern and powered by robots in here, but my eyes are wide open now.
Amazon responded to the allegations, saying:
Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace with competitive pay and benefits from day one. We are proud to have created thousands of permanent roles in our UK fulfilment centres in recent years.
We offer great jobs and a positive environment with opportunities for growth. As with most companies, we expect a certain level of performance.
Targets are based on previous performance achieved by our workers. Associates are evaluated over a long period of time as we know a variety of things could impact the ability to meet expectations in any given day or hour.
The claims come just after Black Friday and as Amazon made £7.3 billion last year alone.
Gearing up to Christmas, let’s hope they develop a more caring spirit to workers.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.