Amazon is coming under increasing pressure from major City investors to improve its working conditions in the UK as trade unions step up their lobbying efforts.
The GMB told Amazon investors including Legal & General, Aberdeen Standard and Baillie Gifford during a meeting at the TUC’s head office this month that the retailer’s refusal to improve its working conditions would risk legal challenges and a public backlash.
During the meeting, set up by Trade Union Share Owners (Tuso), the GMB said that workers in Amazon’s warehouses were under immense pressure to meet targets leading to injuries and pain, while laying bare a number of employee allegations surrounding unsafe working conditions, managers dismissing employee complaints and lack of action on sexual harassment.
“We are in a volatile climate and Amazon is vulnerable on so many different angles,” the GMB’s national officer Neil Foster said.
“We want to work with Amazon and we think investors have a place in that conversation.”
In response to the allegations Amazon, which continues to refuse to recognise workers unions, said: “These allegations are false and unsubstantiated. Amazon already offers industry-leading pay, comprehensive benefits and career growth opportunities, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.
“But you don’t have to take our word for it – anyone can come and see for themselves by booking a tour of a fulfilment centre online.”
It added that it does not tolerate harassment in the workplace, its staff worked a standard 40-hour week and that it would investigate the GMB’s claims if given the right information.
Various investors are understood to have pledged to bring up working conditions with Amazon, recognising that the company needs to be attractive for people to want to work there, while admitting its treatment of workers sat alongside wider questions of corporate governance.