AMAZON warehouse workers have suffered shocking treatment, general union GMB revealed today as it publicised a litany of abuses by managers at the online retailer.
Among the horror stories are cases of heavily pregnant women having been made to work standing up for 10 hours a day, one woman having a miscarriage that was blamed on constant pressure to meet targets, workers toiling in constant agony and 600 incidents where an emergency ambulance was called after a worker had collapsed or been injured in an accident.
The number of emergency ambulance call-outs, which were made over three years, was revealed through freedom of information requests by GMB to ambulance services in the districts where Amazon’s 14 warehouses are located.
At one warehouse, in Rugeley, Staffordshire, ambulances were called 115 times, including three for pregnant women workers and three for major trauma, meaning accident injuries.
In comparison, just eight call-outs were made from a similar-sized supermarket distribution warehouse a few miles away during the same three-year period.
One pregnant woman at Rugeley was employed on “picking,” which involves pushing a trolley, picking up goods for dispatch and walking miles a day. She informed a manager that she wanted to be moved to different work and was told: “It’s not what you want, it is what we decide.”
GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “Hundreds of ambulance call-outs, pregnant women telling us they are forced to stand for 10 hours a day, pick, stow, stretch and bend, pull heavy carts and walk miles — even miscarriages and pregnancy issues at work.
“Companies like Amazon should be treating staff with respect, not treating them like robots.”
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