The Dark Depths of Amazon’s Warehouses

If anyone could be described a modern-day robber baron it would be Amazon founder Jeff Bezos whose personal “wealth shot into newfound stratospheres” this week to make him the world’s newest and only $100bn billionaire.

The secret to Bezos’ wealth is simple: instead of treating his workers as fellow humans he considers them to be mere profit-making units, who must be forced to work as hard as humanly possible.

A recent employee at an Amazon warehouse sets the tone for a normal day at work:

Alone in a locked metal cage, 10 feet from my nearest colleague, a robot approaches from the shadows and thrusts a tower of shelves towards me. I have nine seconds to grab and process an item to be sent for packing – a target of 300 items an hour, for hour after relentless hour. As I bend to the floor then reach high above my head to fulfil a never-ending stream of orders, my body screams at me.”

If workers can’t keep up with the “punishing targets” they face the sack– some of Amazon’s employees can’t keep up and end up hospitalised in the eternal struggle to keep pace with Amazon’s soaring profits.

Everything is timed to maximise the growth of the Bezos fortune even down to “compulsory overtime” and “timed toilet breaks” in filthy toilets. One worker rightly said: “We are human beings, not slaves and animals.”

Another Amazon worker explained how: “At my induction someone was asking why the staff turnover was so high here. It’s because they’re killing people. All my friends think I’m dead. I’m exhausted.”

It is a running joke that Bezos is now thinking of helping improve his popular image as a fat-cat by giving a tiny portion of his ill-gotten billions to charity. In fact Bezos earlier this year tweeted:

“I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” (June 2017)

But if he was really serious about “helping people in the here and now” he would reflect upon how he was treating the people who make all his profits. Certainly many of his worker are in “urgent need” of a boss who treats them as humans not slaves!

For a start it would also be nice to think that Bezos would recognise the right of his workers to be collectively represented by a trade union of their choosing, like the Baker’s Union which is doing its best to help Amazon employees here in Britain.

But this would be a philanthropic action too far for Bezos. That is why workers will be have to be canny and get organised to force this concession from their bosses. And they will only be able to do this by uniting in a trade union to fight to ensure that their basic needs as workers are met.

Join the Baker’s Union or contact

  • George Atwall – 07739326009 –
  • Jit Singh – 07739326012 –
  • Adrianna Kara {POLISH REPRESENTATIVE} – 07847610534 –
  • Damian Sawa{POLISH REPRESENTATIVE} – 07402333125 –
  • Dawid Kara {POLISH REPRESENTATIVE}- 07729871951 –
    Dimitru Manole {ROMANIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07816210730
  • Florentina Pasisnic {ROMANIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07459868508 –
    Lyudmila Malu {RUSSIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07411127253
  • Vania Soares {PORTGUESE REPRESENTATIVE} – 07427309668 –

Jeff Bezos

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