Amazon staff have accused the retail giant of forcing them to urinate in plastic bottles rather than go to the toilet during their shift, amid further protests over workers’ rights.
Across the UK on Friday crowds of protestors gathered outside Amazon’s fulfilment centres in Milton Keynes, Swansea, Warrington, Coventry, Doncaster, Rugeley and Peterborough mere days after it celebrated its biggest Prime Day sales event to date.
Organised by workers union GMB, the protestors demanded the retailer improve working conditions for its warehouse staff, after more than 600 complaints were filed with the UK government’s Health and Safety Executive.
“These include workers using plastic bottles to urinate in instead of going to the toilet, and pregnant women have been forced to stand for hours on end, with some pregnant women being targeted for dismissal,” a GMB spokesperson said.
GMB’s regional organiser Steve Garelick added: “Until we see an improvement in workers’ situations we will continue to speak out.”
The UK protesters were joined by Amazon workers across the globe, with demonstrations also taking place in Germany, Poland and United States last week to coincide with its Prime Day sales event, which Amazon says raked in more sales this year than 2018’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
This marks the latest in an ongoing tussle between Amazon and its staff over working conditions in its warehouses, ever since an undercover investigation in 2017 revealed that some workers fell asleep on their feet due to a demanding work load, endured timed toilet breaks and faced targets they could not meet.
An Amazon spokesperson responded to the claims stating: “Events like Prime Day have become an opportunity for our critics, including unions, to raise awareness for their cause, in this case, increased membership dues.
“These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favour, when in fact we already offer the things they purport to be their cause – industry-leading pay, benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees.
“We have plenty of toilets and employees can take a bathroom break whenever they choose.”