The recession might have cut deeper in Europe, making the question of new jobs even more crucial, but the attitude there is much cooler toward Amazon and its high-tech ways. In Germany, there is continuing labor strife. France is erecting barriers against the company’s aggressive discounting. And in Britain, the warehouses that so impressed President Obama have been compared, in a February story in The Financial Times, with a “slave camp.”
That shocking charge resurfaced in the latest investigation, when a BBC reporter, Adam Littler, went to work briefly at Amazon’s Swansea warehouse. His report, broadcast this week on the show “Panorama,” showed him hustling to keep up with the demands of his hand-held scanner, which gave him only a few moments to find each product.
In his ten-and-a-half-hour night shift, Mr. Littler said: “I managed to walk or hobble nearly 11 miles, just short of 11 miles last night. I’m absolutely shattered.” He added, “We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we’re holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves.”
Michael Marmot, a labor expert identified by the BBC as “one of Britain’s leading experts on stress at work,” told the show that with “the characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.”
Mr. Marmot went on to say that: “There are always going to be menial jobs, but we can make them better or worse. And it seems to me the demands of efficiency at the cost of individual’s health and well-being — it’s got to be balanced.”
In the United States, President Obama said Amazon warehouses are “a great example of what’s possible...I look at this amazing facility and you guys, you don’t miss a beat."
Nope - and the reason is, because employees at the warehouses are constantly under the gun to perform or be fired.
Fill your orders or be fired.
I noticed in the past year that more and more stuff I order from Amazon is coming damaged.
No wonder - the employees are treated like robots to run back and forth and keep filling orders so that their order scanners don't go off.
It's time for me to stop ordering from Amazon.