How Amazon failed to deliver goods to its own employees

WION New Delhi Aug 10, 2020, 09.36 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Jeff Bezos Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In June, Amazon ended wage increases and double overtime pay. For warehouse workers, the harazd pay of two dollars per hour has been discontinued. Health benefits have also been cut.

The world's richest man Jeff Bezos is being compared to the ruler of an autocracy. The ones making this accusation are his employees at Amazon. Reducing employee benefits while getting rich during the pandemic. How is that fair? They ask. Moreover, Amazon is fiercely cracking down on workers who ask such questions. To make Bezos listen to the demands, protesters are banging on his door in New York where Bezos lives occasionally.

This is not an isolated incident. Since the Wuhan virus outbreak, Amazon workers have been protesting across the world. They say the e-commerce giant has done little to keep its employees safe. Lack of personal protective equipment, negligent safety guidelines, callous and unrealistic performance standards and most demoralising of all -- inadequate compensation.

In June, Amazon ended wage increases and double overtime pay. For warehouse workers, the harazd pay of two dollars per hour has been discontinued. Health benefits have also been cut.

There is no dearth of money, e-commerce is one of the few businesses that are flourishing during the pandemic. Amazon has posted its biggest profit since its founding nearly 26-years ago helping Bezos retain the world's richest tag.

So, protesters have made an additional demand this time. Not to Bezos, but to legislators. Tax the rich. It's being called the "Tax Bezos" movement.

"Today, we want to have our demands heard. We want a wealth tax on all billionaires, from 1 to 3%, all the billionaires of the country. But, here, in Manhattan, Bezos property, 80 million dollars property, we were advocating in front of this property today to have the Amazon workers demands be heard."

"They are taxing me on unemployment, they are taxing me at every corner I get but you have a man that is a billionaire, all of them billionaires, and they are not paying taxes. What part of the game is that? Tell me, where the right and wrong is in that?"

Amazon has not taken these protests lightly. At the Staten island warehouse, employees walked out over safety concerns. Chris Smalls who led the protest was fired. Amazon said Smalls was fired for not maintaining the social distancing norms. Protesters say that is not the reason.

Amazon is retaliating against vocal employees to stop them from forming unions.

In its defence, the company says it acquired 100 million facemasks for its workers in the last quarter. Created jobs by hiring 175,000 people since the virus outbreak and spent nearly 700 million dollars on employee benefits. But clearly, Amazon has failed to deliver the goods to its employees.