Unite launches hotline and campaign to get a ‘new deal’ for Amazon workers
- Credit: Unite
Britain’s leading union has opened a confidential whistle-blowing hotline for Amazon workers
Unite has begun a national newspaper and digital Facebook advertising campaign to alert Amazon workers that they can blow the whistle and expose poor treatment free from reprisals by calling 08000 141461 or visiting actiononamazon.org/hotline/
The hotline coincides with the launch of the campaign alliance Action On Amazon that is demanding a new deal for Amazon workers, including a union and a greater share of the firm's profits.
Avonmouth near Bristol is home to a major Amazon fulfilment centre. Today (Wednesday) campaigners unfurled a giant banner at 11am on Clifton Suspension Bridge and in front of Weston's Grand Pier in at 1.30pm to mark the launch of the nationwide campaign as part of a series of regional launches.
Against a backdrop of reports of poor working conditions, Amazon workers have been essential workers during the Covid crisis. The company increased its permanent workforce by one third last year, as well as taking on 20,000 additional seasonal staff.
The company almost doubled its profit in 2020 compared to 2019 and company founder Jeff Bezos is ranked the world’s richest man.
But Amazon stops any attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own. It has failed to sign up to either the United Nations Global Compact or the Ethical Trading Initiative – bodies that recognise the right of all workers to a collective voice and are signed up to by most of the biggest names on the high street.
The union is now calling on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to sign up to a new deal, including commitments that recognise workers’ right to unionise.
Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Unite has opened a confidential hotline for Amazon workers in Bristol to blow the whistle on poor treatment and working practices.
"Amazon attacks all attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own. This is why Unite is launching Action On Amazon to give Amazon workers a voice, so they don’t have to rely on whistle-blowing or calling confidential hotlines.
“Jeff Bezos has become the world’s richest man off the backs of workers who have played a crucial part in so many people’s lives during the pandemic.
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"It is prime time Amazon gave workers in North Somerset and Bristol the right to be in a Union and to do so without interference, bullying and intimidation.”
An Amazon spokesman said: “The fact is we already offer our employees excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.
"Our competitive wages start at £9.70 or £10.80 per hour depending on location, and we’d encourage anyone to compare this to the wages and benefits offered by other retailers.
"We’re proud to have created 10,000 new permanent roles across the UK in 2020, taking our total permanent UK workforce to more than 40,000.
"Our people have played a critical role in serving customers in these unprecedented times and the new roles help us continue to meet customer demand and support small and medium sized businesses selling on Amazon."