Amazon staff walk 11 miles per shift

26 November 2013

amazon-logo One employee has claimed that Amazon are forcing staff to walk 11 miles per shift. Not only that, they're "literally worked to the bone".

If we ignore Adam Littler's figuratively/literally mix-up, he wore a pedometer to work at a giant distribution centre so he could see what distance he covered during a 10-and-a-half hour night shift.

Apparently, he said he was expected to collect orders every 33 seconds and was subjected to “unbelievable” pressure to meet targets. He said: "You all literally work to the bone and there doesn't seem to be any reward or any let-up. I've never done a job like this before. The pressure's unbelievable."

Adam worked as a 'picker' at Amazon's huge 800,000sq ft warehouse in Swansea. There, pickers have to push a trolley around and fetch the items people have ordered online. Staff are given handheld scanners to let them know whether they're hitting their targets or not, as everyone is tracked by a GPS system. Staff are even tracked on toilet breaks while they're having a poo.

You may have seen Adam on BBC1's Panorama last night in a documentary which looked at working conditions at Amazon. Another employee at the warehouse in Rugeley said working for Amazon was like working in a "slave camp". Miss three targets and get three strikes, which means you're out.

Of course, Amazon deny many of these claims and said productivity targets were in-line with performance levels achieved by its workforce, with a spokesman saying: "The safety of our associates is our number one priority."

How far does your boss make you walk? Are you doing a paper round and all this seems like nothing? Are you a traffic warden who thinks Amazon staff should shut up? Or do you just think it'd be nice if Amazon paid some tax? Thoughts, as ever, in the comments.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Tax

19 comments

  • hotmail r.
    Get a different job, moron.
  • Touchwood
    And they say we're a nation of couch potatoes!
  • Touchwood
    I don't think slaves are paid, so hardly a slave camp, and, more importantly, the individual is not compelled to work at Amazon so again, not a slave.
  • klingelton
    There must be some incentive for those working conditions - oh yes, it's called a salary.
  • badger
    Nobody is forced to work there. Amazon's work practices may be distasteful but until laws are being broken, it's not much of a story. He's a journalist looking for an attention-grabbing headline, and it was only a headline on BBC news because they were publicising their own TV programme. It's advertising masquerading as journalism. "Global media outlet manipulates influential position for higher ratings" would be a better headline, but that isn't exactly breaking news either.
  • jim
    should give them all segways - would be fun
  • klingelton
    @jim as long as Amazon don't have any mountains to fall off in their warehouse...
  • Duhh
    Walking 11 miles in a 10.5 hour shift? So 1 mile every hour-ish then? Doesn't sound so bad. He should consider himself lucky that he doesn't sit at a desk all fucking day.
  • James
    I used to work in the stockroom at Argos. Sounds pretty similar — in the run-up to Christmas we were totally rushed off our feet. I'd be walking constantly for a six-hour shift on a Sunday. It was better than hanging around all day on a quiet Tuesday, waiting for a customer to come in and buy something.
  • Wendy
    The lazy beggars; standard walking pace for adults is about 3-4 miles per hour, the machines give the exact location of the products so even allowing for the time taken to pick up items it doesn't sound like they're being pushed that hard. What did they expect when they applied for the job? Amazon sells thousands (millions?) of different products so of course the job will require walking.
  • Jerry
    first 'they' are moaning that the work is too hard and that they need to walk far too much and that its really to exhausting etc... And then in a year or so, only eastern europeans work there (and they will not moan for sure), and then everyone will be moaning that the foreigners steal all the jobs from british people. :o)
  • chris
    Being face to face with a constant stream of customers nagging and putting pressure on you all day is alot more stressfull than a computer
  • Alex B.
    £8.25 per hour for that, in Swansea. Sounds like a decent rate if you don't have other, more marketable, skills. And all that exercise will keep you healthier than sat at a desk all day, and allow you to eat pretty much what you like.
  • Alexis
    And he only has to work 4 days a week for £1200 a month!
  • hmm
    I used to work nights at B&Q and on a 'twilight shift' of 6 hours I used to regularly walk around 13 hours and on a full night shift 11hours I'd walk around 20 miles. I know that because I occasionally wore a pedometer when I was on a keep fit thing. And I wasnt exactly walking till my feet bled either, it was comfortable and not a hard pace at all.
  • Mr C.
    Lots of distribution centres are like that, there wasn't that much of a case against Amazon really. Hard work, but a good reason to do well at school so you don't end up working in a place like that.
  • Loafer1946
    Some kids in Africa have to walk that far to get water. Moaning idiot should get a life.
  • Daisy D.
    @ Loafer Even if they're Amazon Prime subscribers?
  • Big M.
    Mixed feelings on this one. A decent enough job for a young fit healthy person. Decent enough money, lots of time off for study and a social life. Not a job for life but seems OK to me; no real stress, if you need to hit your targets - walk faster. Easy enough? Not like a customer facing job with real stress or a sales job with multiple KPIs. Wouldn't do this job now, fuck that, but the me of 10-15 years ago certainly would. No wonder foreigners come over here for work. Suppose the locals all want something for fuck all - why the fuck should they work hard eh?

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