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Monday, 20 September 2021

Campaigners to unfurl a giant ‘Action on Amazon’ banner in Milton Keynes tomorrow

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Campaigners will unfurl a giant banner in Milton Keynes tomorrow (6 May 2021) to call on Amazon to sign up to a declaration which would guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.

Unite said that Amazon’s first-quarter profit (reported last week) more than tripled from a year ago. Adding that this was fuelled by the growth of online shopping.

The union said that against a backdrop of reports about poor working conditions and anti-union tactics, Amazon workers have been essential during the COVID crisis.

Unite is calling on Jeff Bezos to sign up to a declaration of neutrality. Amazon tripled its profits off the backs of workers who are routinely prevented from having a collective voice in their workplace says Unite .

In the first three months of this year, the company reported profit of 8.1 billion dollars (£5.8 billion), compared to 2.5 billion dollars (£1.8 billion) the year before.

Unite executive officer, Sharon Graham, said:

“Amazon’s profits have tripled off the backs of workers who have been essential during the pandemic. But the company continues to be plagued by reports of poor working conditions and anti-union tactics.

“Amazon workers are not currently free to join a union without fear, and without obstruction and propaganda being deployed against them.

“Workers have serious concerns about issues such as bullying, mandatory overtime, intense surveillance, break-neck production targets and much more besides.

“Amazon workers need an independent voice to stand up against injustices in the workplace.

“Unite has recently written to Jeff Bezos in response to claims from the company about respecting UK workers’ rights to join and form a union.

“Our union is calling on the company to make a clear commitment and sign up to a declaration of neutrality. The declaration would guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear. If the company is genuine then it should be more than happy to sign the declaration.”

An Amazon spokesperson 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.”

The Unite banner will be unveiled at the Snow Dome, 602 Marlborough Gate, MK9 3XS at 11:00 (6 May 2021).

Unite has launched a confidential whistle-blowing hotline for 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 they can visit Action Amazon Hotline.

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John Guinn
I am the editor of The Flitwick Chronicle. This is an independent, local news service based in Bedfordshire. The Chronicle provides local news that is investigative, inclusive and relevant to the residents of Flitwick.

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