Amazon mustn’t danger the well being and security of its workers to satisfy Black Friday procuring calls for, Amnesty Worldwide warned on Thursday, accusing the web retail big of clamping down on workers’ proper to demand higher working situations.
In a report (PDF) referred to as “Amazon, Let Staff Unionize!”, the human rights group mentioned Amazon has undermined employees’ makes an attempt to unionise and cut price collectively.
The corporate has engaged in “surveillance in the US and threats of authorized motion within the UK” and “has failed to have interaction on key well being and issues of safety in Poland and France”, Amnesty alleged in an announcement accompanying the report.
“As Amazon approaches its busiest time of 12 months with Black Friday and Christmas, we’re urging the corporate to respect the human rights of its employees and adjust to worldwide labour requirements,” Barbora Cernusakova, an Amnesty researcher, mentioned within the assertion.
“Amazon should chorus from breaching its employees’ rights to privateness, and cease treating union exercise as a risk.”
The rights group additionally accused Amazon of reinstating productiveness targets earlier than the busy Christmas vacation gross sales season.
These benchmarks have been suspended in March after an Amazon warehouse employee accused the corporate of not doing sufficient to guard its workers from the potential unfold of COVID-19 on the job.
Amazon has reported report income through the pandemic, turning into a trillion-dollar firm as folks selected on-line procuring over going to shops in individual.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest individual on the planet, additionally turned the primary to amass greater than $200bn in private wealth.
“All by the pandemic, Amazon employees have been risking their well being and lives to make sure important items are delivered to our doorsteps, serving to Amazon obtain report income,” Cernusakova mentioned.
“On this context, it’s alarming that Amazon has handled makes an attempt to unionise with such hostility – as one of the highly effective corporations on the planet, it ought to know higher.”
Black Friday targets
Held the day after US Thanksgiving, Black Friday is among the largest gross sales days for US retailers every year. It noticed a report $7.2bn in digital income within the US alone in 2019, based on Forbes.
Different international locations have adopted the custom to compete with US retailers, particularly as gross sales have moved on-line.
Amnesty Worldwide mentioned in its report that because the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic started, Amazon knowledgeable employees in a number of international locations that “productiveness targets” for transport merchandise would resume prematurely of the busy procuring season.
“Staff within the UK reported receiving a textual content message stating that, ‘Beginning 21 October we are going to resume measuring and delivering productiveness efficiency suggestions to make sure we’re able to ship for purchasers within the coming weeks’,” the report states.
Amazon didn’t instantly reply to Al Jazeera’s request for touch upon Thursday.
The corporate’s web site mentioned Amazon recognises its duty “to respect and uphold internationally acknowledged human rights by the moral remedy of our workforce”.
“Guided by the United Nations Guiding Ideas on Enterprise and Human Rights, we decide to embedding respect for human rights all through our enterprise,” it says.
In a weblog publish on Thursday, Dave Clark, senior vp of Amazon’s worldwide operations, introduced the corporate will give out $500m in vacation bonuses to its front-line workers.
Full-time employees within the US employed from December 1 to December 31 will qualify for a $300 bonus, whereas part-time US workers will qualify for $150, Clark mentioned.
“Mixed with different vacation pay incentives, on this quarter alone, we’re investing over $750m in extra pay for our front-line hourly workforce, on prime of our industry-leading $15 nationwide minimal wage,” he mentioned.
However Amnesty Worldwide mentioned in its report that “the corporate’s sample of behaviour portrays a company tradition that’s adversarial in the direction of employees’ rights to hitch a commerce union and organise collectively”.
Activists additionally launched a brand new set of calls for for Amazon this week, together with a push for wage will increase.
Warehouse employees, local weather activists and others launched the Make Amazon Pay (MAP) marketing campaign to push for ample breaks and job safety for Amazon workers, in addition to extra motion to fight local weather change, amongst different issues.
“The pandemic has uncovered how Amazon locations income forward of employees, society, and our planet. Amazon takes an excessive amount of and offers again too little,” the group mentioned on its web site.