Amazon workers walk-out in UK: Staff claims their toilet breaks were timed

Talking to BBC, some of the employees have shared their ordeal of working in 'severe' conditions at the company. Not just that but the revelation has literally shocked all that claim that even their toilet breaks are timed

FP Trending January 28, 2023 09:23:40 IST
Amazon workers walk-out in UK: Staff claims their toilet breaks were timed

Representational image. AFP

After grabbing the limelight for laying off thousands of its employees, e-commerce giant Amazon has once again made it to the headlines. Amazon got all the attention after hundreds of its workers went on a strike in Britain, marking it to be the first formal industrial action in the United Kingdom against the US tech giant. According to the news agency Reuters, Amazon warehouse workers in central England walked out on Wednesday, protesting over pay. Reportedly, the 24-hour strike action began a minute after midnight, with surging inflation pushing 300 employees to stage a protest from Amazon’s Coventry warehouse. Now, talking to the BBC, some of the employees have shared their ordeal of working in “severe” conditions at the company. Not just that but a revelation has literally shocked all claims that even their toilet breaks are timed.

According to the BBC report, the workers are upbraided for “idle time,” which lasts just a few minutes. The report claimed that Amazon has earlier said that it has a system “that recognises great performance.” Detailing their state in the warehouse, two Amazon workers reportedly claimed that the robots in the warehouse “are treated better than us”. This is not all, two of the workers Darren Westwood and Garfield Hilton stated that the managers quizzed them if they took a toilet break. The BBC report quoted Garfield as saying, “The thing with stopping work is that they want to know why. So if the time is beyond a couple of minutes they can see it on the system.” Garfield revealed that he is diabetic and it is not always possible to find toilets close by in the building.

He added that sometimes the process of locating the washroom and then returning can take upwards of 15 minutes. Therefore, in that scenario, the management questions them about what they were doing. Continuing further, Garfield reveals that managers track staff performance and time.

However, the BBC report cited an Amazon spokesperson as saying, “Performance is only measured when an employee is at their station and logged in to do their job. If an employee logs out, which they can do at any time, the performance management tool is paused.”

Reuters reported that out of 2000 workers, 178 at the warehouse had voted to strike. It is also said that this walk-out is part of the worst industrial unrest that is being faced by Britain since Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister.

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