Amazon moves to refute ‘Panorama’ claims

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Amazon has responded to allegations made in the BBC’s “Panorama” programme on 25th November with a strongly worded statement refuting the charge that  it exploits its employees in any way.

“The safety of our associates is our number one priority, and we adhere to all regulations and employment law.”

“We provide competitive wages and stock grants which over the past five years have added an average of 12 per cent to base pay annually. This means that, on average, an Amazon associate with two years’ service will be earning £8.98 per hour for a day shift or £10.78 per hour for a night shift. Additionally, we provide a raft of benefits.”

The Panorama programme used an undercover reporter to work as a picker at Amazon’s Swansea warehouse. And it quoted Prof Michael Marmot as saying that the conditions could cause “mental and physical illness”.

Amazon said it had retained an independent expert who has visited its buildings and associates. It said that in the independent expert’s opinion, a picking role is similar to jobs in many other industries and does not increase the risk of mental and physical illness.

“Amazon is proud to have a highly favourable safety rate compared to companies in the same industry. From April 2012 to October 2013, Amazon’s RIDDOR rate (the “Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations” as defined by the UK Health and Safety Executive) was less than 40 per cent of the average for companies reporting under the same industry code.

We understand that our progress depends on good execution and good judgment from thousands of employees. Together, we’re working hard to make sure that we are better tomorrow than we are today.”

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