The Huffington Post reports on the working conditions at Amazon.com, including the fact that workers are:
- Warned that the company refuses to allow sick leave, even if the worker has a legitimate doctor’s note. Taking a day off sick, even with a note, results in a penalty point. A worker with six points faces dismissal.
- Made to work a compulsory 10-hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week. The overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday, means they have to work every day of the week.
- Set quotas for the number of items to be picked or packed in an hour that even a manager described as ‘ridiculous’. Those packing heavy Xbox games consoles had to pack 140 an hour to reach their target.
- Set against each other with a bonus scheme that penalises staff if any other member of their group fails to hit the quota.
- Made to walk up to 14 miles a shift to collect items for packing.
- Given only one break of 15 minutes and another of 20 minutes per eight-hour shift and told they had to notify staff when going to the toilet. Amazon said workers wanted the shorter breaks in exchange for shorter shifts.
But a better question would be: “Is it likely that Amazon would be able to get away with this crap in a non-oligopsonistic labour market?