- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Amazon Drivers Work 12 Hour Days, Urinate in Bottles to Reach Delivery Quotas

© AFP 2023 / Mal FaircloughThis general view shows deliver trucks outside US retailer Amazon's new 24,000-square-metre centre in Melbourne on November 23, 2017
This general view shows deliver trucks outside US retailer Amazon's new 24,000-square-metre centre in Melbourne on November 23, 2017 - Sputnik International
An investigation of Amazon’s practices towards its UK delivery drivers has revealed inhumane conditions including drivers being required to make up to 200 deliveries a day and having to urinate in water bottles because there’s no time for a bathroom break - and all for subminimum wages.

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, part of the United Kingdom's Department of Transport, began an investigation after seven drivers for Prospect Commercial, Ltd., a Kent-based third-party delivery company that partners with Amazon, sued the online shopping colossus for mistreatment.

89th Academy Awards - Oscars Vanity Fair Party - Beverly Hills, California, U.S. - 26/02/17 – Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos. - Sputnik International
$100 Billion Man: Amazon's Jeff Bezos Hits the Mark on Top Black Friday Sales

"We take any allegations extremely seriously and fully investigate any concerns raised about drivers and operators breaking the rules. Any driver or operator breaking drivers' hours rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood," said enforcement manager Matt Barker to The Independent.

The Sunday Mirror launched an investigation of their own and reported that drivers regularly work days longer than 11 hours (the legally mandated maximum) and are forced to break speed limits to meet delivery goals that don't take into account traffic or weather.

They also do anything they can to maximize time so they can complete their deliveries, including skipping lunch and urinating in plastic bottles. Many drivers work 12 to 14 hour shifts, earning $962 a week — and paying $267 of that, or two days' wages, in van rental and insurance costs. One worker claimed to have taken home a net paycheck of only $285 for a 60-hour work week after paying van costs and fuel.

The internet trader Amazon logo is seen behind barbed wire at the company's logistic center in Rheinberg,Germany, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2013. - Sputnik International
Amazon Falls Out of Favor With Outraged Users for 'Sneakily' Adding a New Fee

"Amazon sent an email to all managers to try to stop drivers carrying bottles filled with urine," one driver told The Sunday Mirror. "The security guards were reporting people for it. But [fault for] the allocation and number of stops, and the volume to be distributed for any given day, lies entirely with Amazon."

Amazon does not employ the drivers directly, instead recruiting them through third-party agencies such as Prospect Commercial. However, the workers receive their assignments and delivery routes through an Amazon app.

An Amazon spokesman told the Sunday Mirror that any mistreatment is the fault of the third-party delivery providers. "Our delivery providers are expected to ensure drivers receive a minimum £12 per hour before deductions and excluding bonuses, incentives and fuel reimbursements," they said.

An Amazon logo hangs on a wall outside an Amazon.co.uk fulfillment centre in Hemel Hempstead, north of London. File photo - Sputnik International
Amazon Tax Turmoil: 'Taxation Must Be the Same for Every Company' in EU

"We are committed to ensuring that the people contracted by our independent delivery providers are fairly compensated, treated with respect, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely."

Prospect Commercial, Ltd. issued a similar claim. "We work hard to provide a good service and supportive work environment for our self-employed contracted drivers," they said in a statement. "We provide competitive compensation to contracted drivers, who receive a rate in excess of the national living wage after deductions, and this is regularly audited."

In the UK alone, Amazon recorded $9.74 billion in sales in 2016. Less than 0.1 percent of that was paid in taxes due to the company's use of offshore tax havens.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала