SCOTTISH government Economy Secretary Keith Brown confronted Amazon bosses yesterday over poor working conditions at its distribution depot in Dunfermline.
Mr Brown said it was “only right” that he met Amazon bosses after concerns over the treatment of staff were raised at Holyrood following high-profile demonstrations by the People’s Assembly Scotland and a coalition of trade unions.
Activists have warned that Amazon workers face job insecurity, low pay and impossible targets, as well as draconian penalties for being minutes late, off sick or taking “too many” toilet breaks.
The Courier reported last week that staff had been camping in freezing conditions in a shocking bid to cut commuting costs.
People’s Assembly Scotland secretary Tam Kirby praised activists for “putting the spotlight on bad working conditions at Amazon and pressuring the Scottish government into taking action.”
Mr Kirby said: “Since the People’s Assembly Black Friday protests, the Amazon PR machine has gone into overdrive to deflect any negative perception of the company.”
He welcomed Mr Brown’s visit to the depot but warned that the economy secretary is unlikely to meet any of the 4,000 Christmas temps and that unions and activists needed to step up the action to win real change.
Unite Fife area activists committee chair John Gillespie said: “We have witnessed first-hand the fear in workers’ faces as they enter and exit the site in Dunfermline.”
He called on Amazon to do the right thing by “paying their taxes and giving their workers the dignity and respect they deserve” instead of trying to make themselves look good in front of the media and politicians.
An Amazon spokeswoman said: “Productivity targets are set objectively, based on previous performance levels achieved by our workforce.”