In an exclusive report published on Sunday, the Mirror reports: “Exhausted staff at the Amazon warehouse in Tilbury, Essex fall asleep on the loo, were punished for trying to form a union and get reported for taking breaks longer than ten minutes.
“Amazon warehouse staff are so exhausted by working flat out to hit strict targets that they fall asleep in the loos, a former worker claims,” the report said.
One worker said he completed “100 days of hell” at the biggest UK depot of the world’s richest company, valued at £730billion.
“It is not uncommon for staff there on £10.50 an hour to feel ill from exhaustion, current and former staff claim,” the report added.
“Workers ‘walk around like zombies’ in 10-hour shifts with limited breaks under pressure to work faster, with workers packing 250,000 items on the night shift he did at the 2million sq ft depot in Tilbury, Essex.
“He claimed staff in other departments could not use the toilets because worn-out workers locked themselves in to sleep.
“He said staff have to join a ‘power hour’ where managers shout the slogan before fast music is played on big speakers to speed up productivity.
“Some workers who fell ill were allegedly refused ambulances and sent to a first aid station instead.”
Another woman claimed that “while six months pregnant she was told off for not hitting packing targets of 120 items an hour, and was reported by a manager for being away from her work station.”
She said: “I couldn’t go any faster. They’re always putting pressure on.
“I’d sometimes get a 10-minute break because I was tired, but they have their eye on you.
“One of the managers reported me, when I was pregnant, for not being at my station. I was filling out my maternity form.”
Another pregnant woman who fell ill was refused an ambulance.
“They called her a taxi after taking her to the first aider,” she said.
“Another woman, in her 50s, claims management would not call an ambulance when she was ‘screaming in pain’ on the floor after a heavy package fell on her,” the report said.
“Another former worker, named only as Josephine, 55, claims she was dismissed after sustaining a work injury following claims she was not at her work station for two hours one day.
“She claims bosses clocked every minute she was absent, including toilet breaks.”
“It’s modern slavery in there,” she said.
A company spokesman said: “We do not recognise these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our building.
“Safety is our No1 priority and we take the wellbeing of our associates extremely seriously.
“We will always call an ambulance if one is required. Our team of on-site first-aiders follow NHS guidance when an ambulance should be called,” he said.
Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, who topped Microsoft mogul Bill Gates for the top spot this year, despite paying a hefty divorce bill.
Bezos, 55, has a personal fortune of about £85billion.
His ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos was awarded £27billion in Amazon stock when the pair were recently divorced after 25 years of marriage, making her “one of the top-five richest women in the world and one of Amazon’s largest shareholders”.
Born in Alburquerque, New Mexico, Bezos “wrote his Amazon business plan while on a cross-country US road trip in 1994 and founded the firm, as an online bookstore, out of his garage in Seattle”.
“He had a helping hand from his parents who put $300,000 into the business,” the report said.
“Bezos also owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, an aerospace company which is developing a rocket for commercial use.”
- Top Feature Photo – ExpressStar