Mixed messages about Amazon, is it the hot shoe shuffle to happiness or despair?

JUST days after being slated by a regional MEP for their policies over the employment of workers, Amazon have released an upbeat statement about the conditions at the Tilbury distribution centre.

Essex Euro MP Alex Mayer called on Amazon to treat workers at their Tilbury warehouse with dignity in a speech in the European Parliament late last month, a message that came hot on the heels of protests on Black Friday in anger at what the GMB trade union call ‘inhumane conditions’ at the company’s warehouses.

All smiles on the shop floor

Figures from the GMB show Amazon warehouses have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive 602 times since April 2015 and that 600 ambulances have been called to their warehouses in the same time period.

The Amazon warehouse in Tilbury is the largest in Europe, the size of 12 football pitches. The unuion says workers have described how they are locked metal cage, 10 feet from a nearest colleague, given nine seconds to grab and process items delivered to them by an army of machines for packing – a target of 300 items an hour. Workers say they face the sack for packing less than two items a minute.

Ms Mayer said: “Workers have told the GMB they don’t have enough time for toilet breaks. 87 per cent are in pain due to their workload. And they are fracturing limbs and being taken away in ambulances.”

However, Amazon paints a much different picture.

Today (Friday, 14 December) they issued a release showing workers at Tilbury engaining with a dance group that visited the site, saying: “The team at Amazon in Tilbury is enjoying the festive spirit with a month-long series of fun events, including a visit from the local Carnival dance group, Tropicalia

Workers do their groove thing at Tilbury

“A “Movember” team shave day, Christmas photo competitions, Christmas treats, opportunities to win top prizes and a Christmas jumper day are just some of the fun activities that will run at the fulfilment centre in Tilbury throughout December.”

Visiting Amazon in Tilbury this week, the Carnival dance group showed off their skills and spread Christmas cheer, as they got many team members up and dancing around the centre.

Amazon’s Tilbury General Manager Prajvin Prakash, said: “Christmas is a really special time of the year at Amazon and there’s no better way to celebrate than by having a month of festive fun with our team. We’ve really enjoyed the festivities so far and I can’t wait to see what else is in store as we get closer to the big day.”