Amazon denies claims it pays workers “starvation wages”

Amazon has denied accusations made by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that it pays its workers “starvation wages”.

The 29-year-old New York congresswoman said while speaking to ABC News on Sunday that she was less concerned with Jeff Bezos’ wealth, and more concerned about the company’s treatment of its staff.

“Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

READ MORE: Amazon workers at 4 German fulfillment centres strike over pay

“If his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care, and also if his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers take food stamps…(then taxpayers are) paying for him to be a billionaire.”

Amazon has now taken to Twitter to respond to Ocasio-Cortez’s claims, laying out its minimum pay structure and branding her accusations “just wrong”.

This marks the latest in a string of accusations leveled against the retailer regarding its treatment of warehouse staff.

In October last year Amazon announced that it would be raising its minimum wage pay to $15 an hour in the US and £9.50 an hour in the UK from November 1, but scrapping monthly bonuses and stock grants for hourly workers.

Despite many praising the move, including outspoken Amazon critic Bernie Sanders, long-time workers subsequently hit back at the new pay measures stating that they would actually receive less pay without the benefits, sparking a widespread backlash.

READ MORE: Amazon raises pay for long term employees as it seeks to quell pay backlash

The online giant responded stating that some workers would receive an extra hourly pay boost to make up for their losses on a “site by site and person by person” basis.

Though its routine productivity bonuses, which increase around the holiday period, have been scrapped Amazon has introduced cash bonuses for long-time employees.

A lump sum will be granted to workers after five, 10, 15 and 20 years of service, in what it described as a “more immediate and predictable” compensation structure.

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