Amazon's stressful work conditions
Earlier this month the BBC investigated working conditions within an Amazon warehouse in Swansea, where an undercover reporter, Adam Littler, filmed his shifts as a 'picker'.
According to the report, Adam's job involved collecting orders from 800,000 sq ft of storage. A handset told him what to collect and put on his trolley. It allotted him a set number of seconds to find each product and counted down. If he made a mistake the scanner beeped. The scanner also tracked Adam's performance, and sent a performance report to management. If his performance was low, he faced potential disciplinary action.
Ten and a half hour night shifts involving nearly 11 miles of walking were reported. Although Amazon claimed its night shifts were lawful, the BBC article quoted un-named experts who stated that 'these ten-and-a-half-hour night shifts could breach the working time regulations because of the long hours and the strenuous nature of the work'.
Professor Marmot, a leading British expert on stress at work, commented on the BBC's findings: "the characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows, increases the risk of mental illness and physical illness." He discussed the importance of balancing efficiency at the cost of an individuals health and well-being.
Adam described his experience working for Amazon. “We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we're holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves...We don't think for ourselves, maybe they don't trust us to think for ourselves as human beings”
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