workplace accidents at Amazon singled out ahead of its annual promotions

“Workers at Amazon sites are injured more often, and more seriously than in the warehouses of other companies,” a coalition of unions said in a report released Tuesday

Amazon is again accused by American unions of not sufficiently protecting its employees from work-related accidents in its warehouses in the run-up to its gigantic annual sales operation.

“Workers at Amazon sites are injured more often, and more seriously than in warehouses of other companies”, affirms a coalition of unions, the Strategic organizing center, in a report published Tuesday. According to this study, last year, nearly 6% of workers in the e-commerce giant’s sorting centers were victims of an accident which forced them to temporarily stop or take a different, less restrictive position. physically. “This rate is almost 80% higher than for all other employers with warehouses in the year 2020”, the report continues.

The firm is due to organize its “Prime Day” this month, a gigantic promotional operation which requires the strengthening of its teams each year. “We have expanded our dedicated occupational health and safety team to over 6,200 employees and invested over $ 1 billion in new safety measures in 2020,” reacted Kelly Nantel, a spokesperson for the group, requested by AFP.

Amazon seized the opportunity of the pandemic by hiring 500,000 people around the world last year to meet exploding demand. It transformed the trial with spectacular results, and continues to invest in all of its sectors, from its e-commerce platform to the cloud (remote computing) and entertainment (it has just bought MGM studios).

“Desperate situation”

But its success with consumers does not mask its disappointments with the authorities and civil society, which accuse it of abuses of a dominant position, anti-competitive practices and extreme working conditions. “These data should serve as a warning, they show how desperate the situation has become”, commented Debbie Berkowitz of NELP, an association that campaigns for workers’ rights. She calls on the Seattle group to end its system of checking schedules in warehouses, much criticized for its rigidity.

In April, after an attempt to organize a warehouse in Alabama failed – which would have been a first for Amazon in the United States – founder and boss Jeff Bezos wrote: “We must do better for our employees”, in its annual letter to shareholders. “We are going to be the best employer and the safest place to work on Earth”, he had promised, referring in particular to measures already taken or being deployed to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal disorders linked to repetitive tasks.

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