Why is this important?
Amazon offers "jobs of last resort" to the communities where they build their warehouses, currently Inverclyde, Dunfermline, Swansea, Rugeley, Bedford, Peterborough, Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Croydon. They employ tens of thousands of people, mostly on temporary contracts and at arm’s length through agencies.
Most of the time, according to GMB members, Amazon is not helping people off benefits and into work permanently - their employment practices lock people into the revolving door of low paid temporary work and Job Seekers Allowance - making already hard hit towns and communities even poorer.
In Amazon the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has become the maximum wage for most staff, who cannot get enough hours of work and live in fear of losing their job. Few Amazon staff can make ends meet without claiming ‘in work’ benefits while they work for Amazon.
According to a survey of Amazon staff:
91% would not recommend working for Amazon to a friend.
70% of staff felt they were given disciplinary points unfairly.
89% felt exploited.
78% felt their breaks were too short
71% reported they walked more than 10 miles a day at work.
GMB - the trade union for Amazon staff - is campaigning with local communities, tax justice groups and Amazon staff to make sure the company makes its full contribution to rebuilding the UK economy - both by paying wages its staff can live on and by paying its taxes.
In the last three tax years for which information is known Amazon has paid only £4.24 million tax on £10.82 billion sales: a tax rate of less than 0.5%. Yet at the moment Amazon is heavily subsidised by taxpayers in three ways:
1. Through the Tax Credits and Housing Benefit their staff have to claim to make ends meet due to their low wages and short term jobs
2. Through the millions of pounds in grants they get from national and local government to build roads, street lighting and land clearance every time they build a new warehouse.
3. Through their exploitation of tax loopholes that means they pay Corporation Tax at a fraction of the rate their low paid staff pay.
GMB say it's time to end the something for nothing culture - It's time Amazon paid their way. We urge all staff at Amazon to join GMB to protect their job, get back up when they need it and join our campaign for better pay, secure working hours and a safe workplace.
We're campaigning to ensure Amazon:
Allows staff access to GMB where they work to get the employment advice and back up they need
Pays a fairer wage so that its staff don't have to claim ‘in work’ benefits
Provide more permanent contracts of employment with enough hours of work for families to have the security the need
Improves its approach to safety and long term health at work to protect employees from the effects of its work practices
Pays its taxes
Acts responsibly towards the local communities it disrupts with its activities
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