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Sunday, July 20, 2014

BBC reports poor working conditions in Amazon warehouses


With holiday gift-buying season upon us, retailers are hiring extra temporary workers to help handle the rush, and a BBC reporter who went undercover to work in an Amazon warehouse in Swansea, England, discovered working conditions that would cause “mental and physical illness,” including layouts requiring workers to walk up to 11 miles per shift, to fill orders at a rate averaging one every 11 seconds.
Correspondent Adam Littler, armed with a hidden camera, documented Amazon warehouse conditions for the BBC TV show Panorama.  A BBC news story about the upcoming broadcast reported:
He was employed as a "picker", collecting orders from 800,000 sq ft of storage.
A handset told him what to collect and put on his trolley. It allotted him a set number of seconds to find each product and counted down. If he made a mistake the scanner beeped.
"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", he said.
"We don't think for ourselves, maybe they don't trust us to think for ourselves as human beings, I don't know."
Prof Marmot, one of Britain's leading experts on stress at work, said the working conditions at the warehouse are "all the bad stuff at once".
He said: "The characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness."
"There are always going to be menial jobs, but we can make them...
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