The Mirror reported this Sunday that delivery drivers hired by Amazon to bring packages to your doorstep might be working more than the legal maximum hours, getting paid less than minimum wage, and being forced to deliver more than 200 packages a day.
Reporter Dan Warburton spent an entire day with one of the said delivery drivers, and detailed his experience in a column published this Sunday. He called the whole ordeal “impossible,” much like the lawyers representing seven former drivers suing Amazon for worker exploitation.
The allegations align with other reports across the pond, where American warehouse workers and even other employees at different postings have reported that overworking is a common issue. Currently, the business helmed by Jeff Bezos is the largest online retailer in the world.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 10, 2017
Amazon drivers make no stops, pee in bottles
To understand how this even comes to happen, first people have to know how Amazon operates. The e-commerce giant does not employ drivers, but subcontracts entire delivery agencies that in turn work with the deposits to dispatch and deliver packages.
As people might be able to guess, these warehouses are massive and store a very large amount of parcels. Even though Amazon employs the services of more than 10 couriers in the United Kingdom, each driver still needs to take a lot of packages for one person.
The Mirror reports that, oftentimes, that package number is over 200, and that drivers require more hours than the maximum allowed by law to deliver them all. British regulation establishes that drivers cannot be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours a day.
Workers say they usually work around 12 hours and sometimes up to 14 per day. Mind you, this is non-stop driving and delivery to go through the entire parcel list, which in turn leads drivers to carry large bottles to urinate in and to grab bites of whatever food they find on the road.
Will this story be picked up by the Washington Post? https://t.co/gvtrBi3ucC
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) December 10, 2017
Amazon denies these conditions exist
Amazon’s strategy serves a double purpose since it allows them not only to reduce costs but also to deny all responsibility in the face of allegations as severe as these. The retail giant says their drivers all follow the standards set by the industry and working laws of each country.
In fact, routes traced by Amazon’s algorithm allegedly account for break times and bathroom breaks, which are mandatory by law. They also supposedly know where there is traffic and accidents, so the proposed route to follow is the most efficient to get packages to doorsteps. After deductions for fuel and breaks, drivers earn less than minimum wage.
As of this writing, Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world, and Amazon grows larger in power and assets across several industries every year. The company has diversified to include physical bookstores, grocery stores, and now even owns the Whole Foods chain of supermarkets.