Banner displayed in Dunstable as campaigners call on Amazon to sign up to declaration of neutrality

Amazon says it offers employees excellent pay, benefits and opportunities for career growth

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 1:33 pm

Campaigners displayed a giant banner and an inflatable box in Dunstable town centre and outside the Dunstable Amazon fulfilment centre this week calling on Amazon to sign up to a declaration which would guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.

But Amazon says it offers 'excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment' - and that its workers are already free to join a labour union without fear of reprisal, intimidation or harassment.

Amazon recently reported that its first-quarter profit more than tripled from a year ago, fuelled by the growth of online shopping.

Campaigners with giant banner and inflatable box at Dunstable Clock Tower in Dunstable Town Centre
Campaigners with giant banner and inflatable box at Dunstable Clock Tower in Dunstable Town Centre

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

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 has launched a confidential whistle-blowing hotline which has opened in the UK & Ireland on 08000 14 14 61 in the UK or 1800 851 268 for the Republic of Ireland, and online at actiononamazon.org/hotline.

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.

Campaigners with giant banner and inflatable box at Dunstable Clock Tower in Dunstable Town Centre

"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."

Campaigners with giant banner and inflatable box outside Dunstable Amazon Fulfilment Centre LTN4

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We respect our employees’ right to join, form, or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment.

"Across Amazon, including in our fulfilment centres, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each associate and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture.

"The fact is, we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. The unions know this.”