Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is now 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 either the United Nations Global Compact or the Ethical Trading Initiative – bodies that recognise the right of all workers to a collective voice and which are signed up to by most of the biggest names on the high street.
In the United States (US) Amazon fought tooth and nail against workers in Bessemer, Alabama, who wanted to form a union. They won that battle and defeated the landmark union drive that would have established the company’s first US union. Amazon, however, has not won the war. That high-profile US fight will increase support for broader change.
Here in the UK Unite, Britain’s leading union has run a major newspaper and digital advertising campaign to alert Amazon workers about a confidential whistle-blowing hotline that has opened in the UK & Ireland.Amazon workers can blow the whistle and expose poor treatment free from reprisals by calling 08000 14 14 61 in the UK or 1800 851 268 for the Republic of Ireland or by visiting https://actiononamazon.org/hotline/.
Unions are demanding a ‘new deal’ for Amazon workers, including a union and a greater share of the firm’s enormous profits. Against a backdrop of reports about poor working conditions, Amazon workers have been essential during the Covid crisis. The company increased its permanent workforce by one-third (10,000) in 2020 as well as taking on 20,000 additional seasonal staff. The company almost doubled its profit in 2020 compared to 2019. Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “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.
It is prime time Amazon gave workers the right to be in a union and to do so without interference, bullying, and intimidation.”Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union said: “Amazon is part of the life of many people and provides consumers with good service. The story on their workers, however, is not so positive. Amazon needs to stop its union-busting tactics and give its workers respect and a decent share of profits. If they don’t they will lose public goodwill and may face consumer boycotts along with other opposition. Time to unionise and change Amazon!”
Please sign the Amazon petition here: https://actiononamazon.org/sign-our-petition/