Amazon services were hit due to issues related to application programming interface (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )
Amazon's denial of exhausting and exploitative working conditions has led to a PR fiasco
Amazon is the world's biggest online market. It is now facing fire for exploiting its workers. Some shocking details have emerged on the working conditions at Amazon. The delivery drivers have to consent to surveillance or they could be fired.
The workers are forced to urinate in bottles. Because they don't get access to bathrooms. The company is denying all this. But its story isn't adding up.
Cameras powered by artificial intelligence to snoop on them, no bathrooms, bottles to urinate, and bags to defecate in. Usually, hostages or prisoners live through such conditions. But in the US, Amazon drivers are living through this nightmare.
It began with a tweet from a lawmaker.
Mark Pocan pointed out that Amazon workers are being forced to urinate in bottles at work. Amazon's denial was swift.
In a tweet, the company declared, "You don't really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us."
Amazon should have thought twice before putting out that tweet. Because it didn't take much time for a reporter to dig out images of those bottles.
A report revealed how Amazon drivers deliver up to 300 packages a day on a 10-hour shift.
If they take too long they can be written up and fired.
Amazon denied all these claims in public. It said this never happens. But Amazon's internal documents show it happens and the company knows all about it. A confidential document, posted by an online publication lists the "violations and defects" of Amazon employees.
Public urination and public defecation are listed under unprofessional behaviour.
A letter from a logistics area manager complains about the discovery of unsanitary bags from drivers.
To make matters worse, the workers are now being subjected to surveillance. Reports say Amazon delivery drivers now have to consent to AI surveillance in their vans.
Cameras are being installed to track drivers. Under the new rules, Amazon can collect photos to verify the identity of drivers along with the location of the vehicle and driver movements. They can record potential traffic violations. Even detect if the driver is distracted or drowsy.
For one of the drivers, named Vic, the surveillance proved to be too much. He narrated his ordeal to a news agency.
He described how Amazon first began surveillance of the driver by tracking his route. Then Amazon demanded pictures at the beginning of each shift. After the arrival of AI cameras, Vic decided to leave his job.
Some tweets don't age well. Amazon is learning it the hard way. Its denial of exhausting and exploitative working conditions has led to a PR fiasco.